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December 6, 2010
There must be something about Notre Dame being able to land Texas cornerbacks that have yet to visit campus.
The first time it was Irving product Jalen Brown at the end of July. Bennett Okotcha did the same Monday when he called outside linebackers coach Kerry Cooks to make a commitment to the Irish after previously pledging to Wisconsin.
"There are a lot of reasons," Okotcha told Irish Illustrated. "I've just been talking to my family and trying to weigh them out. Notre Dame is the school I ended choosing."
The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect originally committed to Wisconsin in mid-August over scholarship offers from Baylor, Minnesota and Wake Forest.
Notre Dame entered the picture last Monday when Cooks and head coach Brian Kelly visited Coppell High School to offer scholarships to Okotcha and running back Cam McDaniel, who committed later that day.
Okotcha considered the offer for only one week but had several discussions with his family about his options.
"I would never do something without my family," Okotcha said. "Without my family supporting me and just fully in for it. Without that then there was no way I was gonna go to Notre Dame. My family was completely supportive of it. We talked about it and looked up the schools and that's what ended up happening."
Although still unsure when he'll make a campus visit, those aren't the type of things Okotcha was concerned about when considering the Irish.
Football wasn't even the biggest priority.
"Definitely education," Okotcha said of the main factors in his change of heart. "Even though you can get a great education at Wisconsin, I feel like I can get a better education at Notre Dame. I know there's less people that go to that school. I know whenever I go to a classroom there will be less people and I'll get to know my teachers better. It just helps me out with my ability to get the best education that I can."
From a football perspective Notre Dame has some things to offer as well, most specifically the chance to play with McDaniel and a one-of-a-kind game day experience.
Since they entered high school Okotcha and McDaniel have talked about what it would be like to play their college ball together. Now it's much more reality than fantasy.
"It's just something we've been talking about since we've been in high school together," Okotcha said. "It's amazing how it comes true. It's like a dream."
The next step in that dream is running out of the tunnel onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium in front of 80,000 some Irish fans. That part of it already has Okotcha pumped up.
"It's really exciting because I know that Notre Dame is always selling out the stands and I've heard the fans are crazy up there and stuff," he said. "I'm just excited to get into the game and get the game day environment. I just know it's gonna be a great time."