Pete Sampson Speaks- Part 1-12-15-2022
Tonight, we had the opportunity to sit in on another Zoom session with Pete Sampson, writer for The Athletic on Notre Dame Football, and his insights on the program were once again very enlightening!
Pete took questions from the members of the Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia and of course, the topic of NIL and its effect on recruiting was the first up for discussion. Sampson explained that Notre Dame does not offer NIL deals to high school students. The athletes must be on campus with a promise to participate in community service before their NIL deal is secure. ALL Notre Dame football players, whether they play or not, have an NIL deal through the foundation established by Brady Quinn and Tom Mendoza called FUND. At this time, that foundation has been subsidized by ND alumni to the tune of $5 million with a goal of $10 million. Lower tier players are assured of at least a 5 figure payment while the “dudes” as Pete called them, can be offered mid 6 figures to at times 7 figures.
Pete stressed that Notre Dame wants to identify athletes who are looking for an elite education and don’t have NIL as their top priority when selecting a school. Committed recruits, such as 2023 WR, Jaden Greathouse and 2024 QB, C.J. Carr have already stated that NIL deals were not their priority when they made their commitments to ND.
Sampson stated that the Notre Dame coaching staff as a whole believe that they can do more roster building through the transfer portal than through NIL deals which obviously works against them. Pete does feel that if a “very special” 5 star recruit was wavering that Marcus Freeman may be able to persuade Jack Swarbrick to come up with a “fund” that might tip the scales in Notre Dame’s favor!
With regard to the transfer portal, Pete confirmed that Notre Dame will most definitely be looking for an experienced QB who may not be in the portal as we speak. He predicts that sometime after the bowl game (in about 2 weeks) we should start to hear some news on that front. A name already being talked about who has entered the portal is Hudson Card from Texas, while 2 others who have not yet declared, but are definitely on the Irish radar are Michael Pratt from Tulane and Sam Hartman from Wake Forest.
There were several questions about Tommy Rees and the Drew Pyne situation. Sampson feels that Coach Rees will remain as Offensive Coordinator for two reasons. First, he is well liked by Coach Freeman and secondly, Tommy has a very lucrative contract under his belt right now.
The immediate transfer of Drew Pyne did catch the Irish staff a bit off-guard. Pyne was just a semester away from graduating so the staff felt he would wait until the spring to leave as a grad transfer. They did inform Drew that they would be looking at the transfer portal for an experienced quarterback. Sampson stated that Pyne’s family, in particular, his father, influenced him to transfer now with their full support. It’s still surprising that a kid who dreamed of attending Notre Dame his whole life would leave one semester short of graduation.
Sampson also believes that even though Drew often stated that he responded well to the “hard coaching” of Rees, that in reality, it wasn’t the best form of coaching for him. An interesting anecdote about Pyne that Sampson shared with the group came from Tobias Merriweather’s father. Mr. Merriweather said that in a conversation with his son, Tobias stated that he had a difficult time feeling comfortable on the field because he literally could not see the quarterback.
We will be back with more insider news on a variety of ND Football topics from Pete Sampson tomorrow including his views on Notre Dame’s status as an independent and his grade for Marcus Freeman on his first year as a head coach.