Notre Dame adds ESPN 300 offensive lineman Rocco Spindler

ByTom VanHaaren via ESPN logo
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Notre Dame added its second ESPN 300 commitment in as many days on Saturday when offensive lineman Rocco Spindler announced his commitment to the Irish.

Spindler chose Notre Dame over Michigan, LSU, Ohio State and Penn State, and said while all the schools provided him with an excellent opportunity, Notre Dame felt different.

"It just felt like home when I was on campus every time. It's close to home, everything that goes into it, my parents will be rooting for me every step of the way," Spindler said. "This was not just my own decision, it was for my family as well. I love the coaching staff, they can develop me on the field, get me to play on Saturdays, get me to the NFL, play in front of a huge crowd and also have that relationship off the field."

A 6-foot-4, 260-pound guard from Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Michigan, Spindler is the No. 64 prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 3-ranked prospect in the state of Michigan.

His teammate, ESPN 300 offensive lineman Garrett Dellinger, is the No. 2 recruit in the state and chose LSU. The top prospect in the state, defensive tackle Damon Payne, recently committed to Alabama, leaving Michigan without its top three recruits in the state.

Spindler is the top guard in the class and has football in his blood. His father, Marc Spindler, was once a blue-chip recruit and was the USA Today high school defensive player of the year in 1986. The older Spindler was on the cover of USA Today sports section with Emmitt Smith, who was the offensive player of the year.

Marc Spindler played at Pitt and eventually in the NFL as a defensive tackle and has had the opportunity to see his son travel down a similar path.

"To watch him walk, I don't want to say walk in my footsteps, but walk in the footsteps that I once walked in, and have a better understanding of what that takes, you sit there as a dad and it's a balance of being very proud, but also being very humble," Marc Spindler said. "He didn't have many questions in our sit-down; I think he might have heard me talk about certain things to look for with education, life after football, network and then if you're lucky enough to be developed to play on Saturday and a step further than that, having the opportunity to play past that. He took that information and went on his own way with it."

Marc and his wife, Rochelle, have told all of their children that education is important, because at some point the ball is going to stop bouncing and their time in athletics will be over. Rocco took that to heart and weighed that in his decision, which is partially why he chose Notre Dame.

"At Notre Dame, you can win a national championship on the field, but I believe you can also in the classroom and that's a big part of it," Rocco Spindler said.

His relationship with offensive line coach Jeff Quinn and head coach Brian Kelly also factored into his decision. While he felt comfortable with the other coaches at the schools in his top list, Notre Dame was where he felt most at home.

"Coach Quinn, he's one of the top guys to develop guys from small schools, two- and three-star guys now into national NFL guys," Spindler said. "He truly cares about my family and not just me as a football player, but me as a person. Coach Kelly, I believe he's not going anywhere anytime soon, and I know there have been rumors, but I believe he's not."

Those relationships helped push Notre Dame over the top and Spindler joins linebacker Prince Kollie out of Jonesborough, Tennessee, as the two ESPN 300 commitments this week for the Irish. In total, Notre Dame now has eight ESPN 300 commitments in the class and 17 total commits. Prior to Spindler's commitment, Notre Dame had the No. 15-ranked class overall.