Notre Dame landed one of their biggest defensive recruits in recent history as five-star defensive end Brenan Vernon announced his decision to play for the Fighting Irish earlier this week.
Vernon surprised many as he became the first five-star player (non-OL) from Ohio to not choose the Buckeyes since Urban Meyer was hired before the 2012 season.
Vernon is the second commitment in Notre Dame’s 2023 recruiting class that is already looking like it’ll bring in one of the best defensive lines nationally as four-star defensive end Keon Keeley also committed earlier this week.
Here is what Vernon had to say to Mike Singer of Rivals about a few things related to Notre Dame:
Notre Dame is just different
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - MAY 01: Aerial view of Notre Dame Stadium from a drone prior to the Blue-Gold Spring Game at Notre Dame Stadium on May 01, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
“The atmosphere was different man,” Vernon said of Notre Dame. “It totally suits me as an individual compared to all of the other school. Notre Dame is different, and it’s a whole lot different. “It suits my lifestyle, and it clicked as soon as I got on campus. I knew it was special.”
School size played to Notre Dame's advantage
Oct 17, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; General view of the golden dome at the main administration building on the campus of Notre Dame. Maandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
“First of all, it’s a low-key school,” he added. “You’re talking about 8,000-something students compared to 50,000 if you were to go to an Ohio State, Alabama or a school like that. I’m more of a low-key individual, and I like to keep to myself and go about my business. At Notre Dame, that’s what I can do. “At a smaller school, you know everyone, and everyone is family there. When you’re in a classroom with 20 people, you’re going to know everyone’s name compared to other schools. It suits me; I need that connection.”
On Notre Dame's defensive coaches
Marcus Freeman - Image courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
“They meant the world; I love those guys,” Vernon said. “They made such an impact. They’re authentic people. You can feel that true love and authenticity. They weren’t spitting bull crap. They are real people and I felt cared for.”
On Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly - Photo courtesy of Notre Dame athletics
“He’s such a down-to-earth guy, and like the rest of the staff, he’s so authentic,” Vernon said. “He cares about his players, and you can see it. He always has a smile on his face and is such a great guy to talk to. He’s a caring individual, and I know I can go to him with anything.”
Teaming up with Keon Keeley
“I’m going to run that big end position,” Vernon said. “I’m working to be the powerhouse of our defensive line while Keon is rushing that edge. He’s our quick, fast guy and is one heck of a player. I’ll be the big boy who wreaks havoc and destruction. I’m going to work and make the offense feel my presence.”