As Drue Tranquill approached the table draped with the Carroll High School logo and his jersey and helmet, he had one request.
He wanted his family and his coaching staff around him as he signed his national letter of intent to play football at Notre Dame. Twelve of his relatives and coaches squeezed in behind him while his mother sat in the chair next to him.
It was only fitting there was a large group for the big occasion.
“It's the next four years of my life,” Tranquill said after signing with the Fighting Irish. “I woke up this morning ecstatic and I've been on edge all day. I'm extremely excited to start the next chapter in my life.”
Wednesday's signing ended what Tranquill called an up-and-down recruiting process that included verbally committing to Purdue during the summer, only to decommit and jump on board with Notre Dame in mid-November.
Purdue stayed in the mix after he decommitted, but it was about finding a perfect fit.
“It's just a special place, there's no other university like it,” Tranquill said. “It was a perfect combination of faith, family, football and academics.”
The Fighting Irish get the No. 6 ranked safety and the 32nd best player in the state, according to Internet recruiting web site Rivals.com. Tranquill anchored Carroll's offense, along with his brother Justin, but he expects most of his playing time will come on defense.
He won't be limited to just safety either as Notre Dame's defensive coaches see him as an option at outside linebacker. He'll be the second player from Fort Wayne to lurk in the Fighting Irish defense; former Bishop Luers linebacker Jaylon Smith finished his freshman season this past year.
“With my athleticism and the size I have I could be a physical safety,” Tranquill said. “Or I could be an outside linebacker that plays down.”
He wasn't the only Tranquill football player wearing Notre Dame apparel at the signing. Justin Tranquill stood right behind his brother in a green Irish hoodie. The younger Tranquill is gaining attention of his own, including interest from South Bend.
His hectic recruitment officially ended when he put his name on the dotted line. Carroll's school day was canceled Wednesday, which helped ease Tranquill's mind on his big day.
“I was able to wake up and hang out with my family all day,” he said. “It was definitely more enjoyable.”