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Notre Dame "Feels Like Home" For Elite Lineman Charles Jagusah

Illinois offensive lineman Charles Jagusah talks about his finalists, his upcoming visits and the feeling he got from Notre Dame

The recruitment for Rock Island (Ill.) Bishop Alleman offensive lineman Charles Jagusah was always going to be about the smaller things rather than the glitz, glamour and new avenues of financial fulfillment via name, image and likeness. 

So, as he stands over his tee shot at the local public course, he’s thankful for time with his closest friends after overcoming a brief bout with Covid-19 with minor symptoms. He now gets some time to finally figure out a schedule for his official visits in the month of June.

“I had no choice but to chill at home,” Jagusah told Irish Breakdown. “I had a bad sore throat, but I’m fine now. I did a lot thinking about my recruitment though."

Jagusah has been the primary target for the Notre Dame staff on the offensive line and they’ve made it a priority to have him feel that way. The 6-6, 290-pound rising senior feels himself getting closer to a decision than ever before, and his last visit to South Bend still resonates with him as he filters through information about schools, coaching staffs and community. 

The last time he was on campus, Jagusah spoke about enjoying his conversation with line coach Harry Hiestand and valuable time spent with the offensive line unit on a campus that was mild, giving him an opportunity to soak in the vibe as they moved around campus as a unit.

“My last visit was amazing,” explained the Bishop Alleman star. “The one thing I love about the campus is that it’s a little bit smaller. It’s kind of more what I’m used to.”

His high school head coach, Fritz Dieudonne, accompanied him on that trip and has helped to spearhead Jagusah’s recruitment due to extremely busy work schedules for his parents. Dieudonne has been adamant about getting Jagusah to speed up the process, finalize visits and clear a path to an ultimate decision. 

Notre Dame’s coaching staff made an early impression on him with their determined approach to recruiting his star lineman. It was the tip of the iceberg as he found out when he left South Bend on April 9.

“Yeah, that visit went really well,” Dieudonne told Irish Breakdown. “There was an extreme attention to detail from everyone on every level. Clearly, Coach (Marcus) Freeman and his staff are running a first-class program. The way the players interact with their coaches shows a level of respect and love for one another. It’s not just a business, it’s a family.”

The next step is getting back to campus for an official visit in June, and that process was still be finalized as Irish Breakdown had the pleasure of speaking with the matriarch of the family, Sheila Doak. Her presence is vitally important to the process moving to the final stages and a decision for her son, and she knows the importance of the upcoming visits.

“We’re almost done with the plans,” Doak told Irish Breakdown. “It’s been really hard to plan everything because I only get 2-3 Sunday off per year. We will be in South Bend June 19-20 or June 20-21, depending on whether I can find a good substitute for that Sunday. I’m looking forward to meeting some coaches in person!”

Notre Dame will be the last visit for the family in the month of June and that could be very telling in his recruitment. Jagusah has remained committed to a decision in August right before the start of his senior season and has been as patient as he is when pass rushers are attacking on Friday nights.

Jagusah originally told Irish Breakdown that the determining factor for him would be the relationship he will have with the guys in the offensive line room along with the community at that university, and the sentiments that he recently shared has been a similar discussion at home.

“Of course, I’d like him to feel comfortable with his teammates,” Doak explained. “He’s been telling me that Notre Dame feels more like home, and I can’t wait to see the campus.”

The official visit schedule for the month of June will include a visit to Missouri on June 10-11, a visit to Arkansas on June 13-14, a visit to Michigan on June 17-18 and Notre Dame on the weekend of June 19-21. 

Missouri was one of the first programs to offer Jagusah and is the closest campus to Rock Island. 

Head coach Sam Pittman is known as a very good offensive line coach, has a good relationship with Jagusah and has done a tremendous job at stabilizing the Arkansas program. 

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Michigan is a school that has a history of offensive lineman in the NFL and he also enjoyed his April visit to the Ann Arbor campus. 

Ultimately, Notre Dame has the last crack at Jagusah in the month of June because the family wants to get the closer schools out of the way first before making the treks to Ann Arbor and South Bend. However, Notre Dame is the known commodity in this race to the finish as they check every box for Jagusah and his high school coach on and off the field. They both know that the process has been a lot and getting the final approval from Mrs. Doak could be the stamp of approval on what Jagusah has been saying and feeling.

“I think on some levels there is a sense of relief and joy at this point,” Dieudonne says. “The process is tiring and at times overwhelming. I’m extremely proud of how he’s handled everything. He’s been calm, clear eyed, and focused on the truly important things that will play a significant role in developing him as a student and player.”

Notre Dame could possibly have a chance to seal the deal with Jagusah during the June 19-21 weekend. The additions of Sam Pendleton and Sullivan Absher haven’t gone unnoticed by Jagusah. He knows they’re great guys as well as players and their commitments remind him of the conversation he had with Harry Hiestand during his last visit.

“Coach Hiestand said he recruits the man as well as the player,” Jagusah explained. “That stood out from our conversation.”

They say the true thoughts of man are in his heart, and what CJ’s heart seems to be saying bodes well for Notre Dame. Once June ends, the Fighting Irish faithful may have to show patience to finally hear it verbally. 

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