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January 17, 2011

Hounshell takes the long road to ND

For Chase Hounshell, the fastest route from Point A to Point B isn't always a straight line, especially when the destination is the University of Notre Dame.

Before committing to Notre Dame on Monday, Hounshell originally committed to Florida in August and had planned to enroll in Gainesville for the spring semester. Urban Meyer's resignation as the Gators' head coach opened the door for Notre Dame to climb back into the recruiting picture with the 6-foot-6, 270-pound three-star defensive end.

The Irish capitalized on that opportunity.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and defensive line coach Mike Elston visited Hounshell in his Kirtland, Ohio home and were content leaving the in-home visit with Hounshell's word that he'd visit over the weekend.

Moments before the Irish coaches walked out the door, Hounshell shared with them the news that he was ready to join the Irish recruiting class of 2011.

"I didn't know I was going to do it," Hounshell said of his commitment. "They came in today and we talked for two or three hours about me coming to Notre Dame and being a good fit there and how they could use me. I told them I'd visit this weekend and I'd give them an answer after that.

"They were OK with that and told me to take my time. As they were walking out the door I got a gut felling and said Notre Dame was the place I wanted to go for sure."

That was good news for the Irish coaches.

"I told them I was joining the Irish family and they started screaming," Hounshell said. "They picked me up and they all hugged me. They were very happy."

On Sunday, Florida head coach Will Muschamp and two assistant coaches, including new offensive line coach Frank Verducci, made an in-home visit with Hounshell.

Moments after committing to the Irish, Hounshell was on the phone with Muschamp.

"I called coach Muschamp the second after I committed," Hounshell said. "It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Coach Muschamp is just a great coach and a great person and man. It broke my heart I had to tell him."

Hounshell said his family is very excited about his decision, even if it took a few extra months to become part of the Irish family.

"They are happy as ever and agree with me 100 percent. They think I chose the right option," he said. "I talked about it before with my family that if I would have got the offer that was the place I wanted to be. It's been a long journey but it all worked out for the best."

Hounshell ended his senior year at Lake Catholic High School with 75 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, nine sacks and 11 pass break-ups.

He was named Ohio's Division II Defensive Player of the Year, MVP of the North Coast League, first team all-Ohio, Ohio's Old Spice Player of the Year and he was selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

This summer he'll play in Ohio's North-South All-Star Game and has been nominated to play in the Big 33 game, pitting Ohio's best players against Pennsylvania's all-stars.

Hounshell added that the Irish coaches want him to gain about 15 pounds to become a 285-pound run-stopping defensive end.







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