Four-star cornerback Cole Luke has had plenty of Notre Dame in his life for some time. He's taken both official and unofficial visits to South Bend, witnessed the Irish defeat Navy in Ireland early this season and shined under a former Notre Dame quarterback he calls "coach" for four years.
In retrospect, his commitment to the Irish on Thursday shouldn't have shocked anybody. Thing is, it somehow managed to. Rightly or wrongly, Luke was thought to favor Texas before the Longhorns' season started coming apart at the burnt orange seams. Some even thought Oklahoma was in position to make a run at the Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton standout as well.
But all of that chatter died with Luke's recruitment before noon on Thursday.
"He committed to Notre Dame this morning," Hamilton head coach Steve Belles, who played for the Irish in the late 80s, said. "He just knew that's where he wanted to go. He's known for a little while."
Asked if he was pleased to see his star player follow in his college football footsteps, Belles took a neutral stance. It's the PC thing for a high school coach to do, after all. But that's not to say he's skilled at hiding the pleasure in his voice.
"Yeah, I'm happy, but I'm just happy for him," he said. "I'm happy he's found a place that fits him and works for him."
Nobody is happier than Luke, however. A decline in the frequency of phone calls is enough to render high school senior giddy. The 221st-ranked player in America does few interviews and has said on record that he's uncomfortable with the attention that comes with being a high-caliber prospect. Early on, he swore off having a press conference or organizing a hat ceremony, taking a thinly veiled swipe at players that opt for such things in the process.
And so the question is as follows: What took a player who hates the questions, attention and speculation that come with being uncommitted so long to put an end to the process?
"He just wanted to be sure," Belles said. "That's why it took so long. "He wanted to take his visits and make sure he was comfortable with his choice. He's comfortable with Notre Dame and knows he's in the right place.
According to Belles, Luke gave his commitment to Irish assistant coach Bob Elliott early on Thursday morning and spoke to head coach Brian Kelly shortly thereafter.
Luke's Chandler Hamilton team is set to open play in the state playoff this Friday with a game against Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland. Led by Luke, who returns kicks and plays sporadic snaps on offense in addition to his full-time duties as a cornerback, the Huskies amassed at an 8-3 regular-season record.