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Monroe Freeling Knows Notre Dame Is A Special Place

Notre Dame is making a hard push for 2023 offensive tackle Monroe Freeling, who recognizes how special the Irish program is

A new era of Notre Dame football is underway, but one thing hasn't changed, the Fighting Irish coaches will look to land some of the nation's best offensive linemen. One of those top linemen that is on Notre Dame's radar is Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Oceanside Collegiate offensive tackle Monroe Freeling.

Freeling being a top target for Notre Dame isn't new, but things have certainly changed in South Bend. Despite the turnover, Notre Dame has made a very strong impression on the 6-6, 265-pound lineman.

“With all the coaching changes this season I have really tried to focus on the schools themselves rather than just football," Freeling said. "Academics are important to me and Notre Dame is amazing from that standpoint. Coach (Jeff) Quinn and I talked every Monday afternoon since February until the coaching change.

“Since Coach (Brian) Kelly left, I have chatted with Coach Chad Bowden a couple of times,” Freeling continued. “Coach (Marcus) Freeman is loved by his players for sure. He brings a different energy than Brian Kelly, I think it’s exciting for Notre Dame.”

Despite not being retained by Freeman, Quinn left Freeling with a message about Notre Dame he will not soon forget. 

"After he left, Coach Quinn texted me 'Don’t give up on Notre Dame. It's a truly special place,'” Freeling said.

Freeling is ranked as the nation's No. 53 overall player and the No. 4 offensive tackle by On3. This comes after a dominant junior campaign, starring at left tackle for a potent rushing attack that averaged nearly 200 yards per game, with an outstanding 6.4 yards per clip.

In large, COVID-19 has morphed the recruiting experience for recruits across the country - including Freeling. Those phone calls and virtual interactions have been a huge element in the relationship building. Some timelines may suffer in return.

“Covid really delayed me getting out to look at programs, so I feel I’m way behind where I should be,” said Freeling. “It's a big decision and I am blessed to have offers from great programs. I will be visiting Miami, Michigan, Stanford, Penn State, Florida, Clemson and Southern Cal before narrowing it down to a top ten very soon.”

Luckily for the Irish, Freeling has made multiple visits to South Bend, and those visits made a strong enough impression that he plans to return.

“I first visited Notre Dame this past June," explained the talented blocker. "Coach Quinn and Coach (Trevor) Mendelson spent the day with us. I also sat down with Coach (Tommy) Rees and went over film, he showed me how they like to use their offensive linemen. I came back for the Cincinnati game with my family, and even with Notre Dame losing we had a great experience. I am hoping to get back out in the late spring for another visit.”

Connecting with the new staff, particularly offensive line coach Harry Hiestand fresh off his return, will be vital for the Irish to pull Freeling from the Carolina schools.

From a talent perspective, it is easy to see why Notre Dame is vying heavily for his services. Despite some questionable results up front this past season, the standard will always remain the same for a Fighting Irish offensive lineman, an image that the coaching staff has made well known to Freeling.

“You have to be an athlete to play tackle for Coach Rees, not just a big body,” he explained. “I work hard on constantly improving my athleticism and explosiveness. My Mom is a yoga instructor, so I’m always working on my bend and flexibility too. I just try to get better every day.”

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As of today, Notre Dame feels like one of the favorites for Freeling’s services, citing an appealing fit academically, athletically and personally. This one will be a long haul - but the longer this one lasts, the better the Irish chances appear.

With Hiestand back, the future of the Irish offensive line looks bright - which could potentially include a talented Monroe Freeling if they strike the right chords over the next few months.

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