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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Drew Recker opens doors for himself at Notre Dame

Attending Notre Dame has provided Drew Recker with a complete college experience. The senior safety from Lindenhurst, Illinois, said he has managed to combine his academic, football and social life to create a memorable four years.

His decision to attend Notre Dame came down to the friendly, community atmosphere.

“I visited and I really liked the people. People held doors open for you, smiled at you, said ‘Hi’ when you walked past them,” Recker said. “It was the only place I went to that was like that.”

The community aspect has existed throughout his career here but especially among his teammates. Recker said he is very close to his teammates and has shared some of his best experiences with them.

“I live with my teammates. We got a house off campus sophomore year,” Recker said. “We’ve done a lot of crazy things together. [Seniors] Isaac Rochell, Cole Luke, John Chereson, Durham Smythe, Colin McGovern, we’ve all rotated through the house.”

Irish senior safety Drew Recker adjusts his helmet before Notre Dame’s victory over Miami at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 29.
Irish senior safety Drew Recker adjusts his helmet before Notre Dame’s victory over Miami at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 29.
Irish senior safety Drew Recker adjusts his helmet before Notre Dame’s victory over Miami at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 29.

He also shared a funny story that Recker said was one of the highlights of his college years. In typical college student fashion, Recker and his friends spontaneously decided to take part in an event on a whim.   

“Two days before the Fisher Regatta, Isaac, Cole, John and I decided we would build a boat,” Recker said, laughing at the day. “We drove around town salvaging parts for it. Old box spring mattress, old tires, we just got whatever we could get donated to us and built a raft. It was a lot of fun.”

However, it isn’t only fun and games as a student athlete. There are only so many hours in one day, and when you must combine classes, practice, weightlifting, tutoring and more there is a serious time crunch. Recker said he knows this as well as anyone.  

“You have to be really organized, and you don’t have a lot of time for anything else.” Recker said “I have every minute of every day mapped out.

“When I wake up I have 15 minutes to work on homework before I weightlift. Then after weightlifting I have 20 minutes before my class so I can do an assignment.”

All the hard work in the classroom is paying off as Recker will graduate in the spring with a neuroscience degree. He is not exactly sure where his career will take him, but the current plan is to attend medical school after graduation.

Recker has also translated his academic work ethic to the football field. As a walk-on freshman Recker was excited to be a part of the Notre Dame football program, but he said he immediately put things in perspective as he ran out of the tunnel for his first game.  

“It was awesome running out of the tunnel. Being a walk-on it was cool running out of the tunnel, but I realized I need to play,” Recker said. “It’s one thing to walk out of the tunnel but it’s another to actually play so I worked my butt off.”

He made it a mission to constantly work hard, and it paid dividends as he eventually achieved his goal of gaining playing time. Even though it hasn’t been much, Recker said his best career highlight was the Boston College game in 2015.

“One of first times I played was in the Shamrock Series last year in Fenway Park,” Recker said. “And my dad is one of the biggest Red Sox fans I’ve ever met in my life”.

The game ended in a 19-16 Irish victory, but the final score or opponent wasn’t as significant as the opportunity to share a special moment with his dad.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to travel and play in the game until the Thursday of that week,” Recker said. “So I called him on Thursday and was like ‘Hey, you want to come watch your son play in Fenway Park?’ He immediately bought a ticket that day and came up and saw me.

I only got one play but I still played in Fenway Park.”

The memory of suiting up for the Fighting Irish at one of the most historic sports venues in the country with his father in attendance is something Recker said he will cherish for the rest of his life.