Coveted Central Catholic football quarterback DeShone Kizer made a verbal commitment at noon on Tuesday to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Notre Dame.
“After a long process and a lot of talking, I’ve made my decision,” Kizer said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m going to Notre Dame. After going through the campus with my family, we truly fell in love with the school and everything it possesses.
“The academics, the location, and the football tradition all exceeded the criteria our family had put together since the beginning of the recruiting process.”
Kizer, 17, who also plays basketball and baseball, carries a 3.4 grade-point average at Central. He just completed his junior year at Central, and helped lead the football team to a 14-1 record and a Division II state championship last fall.
Kizer is an agile, 6-foot-5, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback known for his decision-making, ability to throw on the run, and his downfield arm strength.
He will make his official announcement to local media at Central Catholic at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Kizer said he made his decision after visiting the Notre Dame campus on Sunday.
He had previously scheduled a visit to the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge this coming weekend, and Central coach Greg Dempsey said that two-time defending national champion Alabama had been trying to schedule Kizer for a visit to its Tuscaloosa campus as soon as possible.
“I was thinking of going to LSU this Friday,” Kizer said, “but after going to Notre Dame we figured that a trip to LSU would be nothing but pointless time, because we all looked at each other after that visit and said that there’s no better place in the nation that we could possibly be.
“Their quarterback situation had something to do with it. They will be short at the quarterback position, and that will give me an easier opportunity to come in and compete and try to get some playing time early.”
Kizer’s only other campus visits were to Michigan State and to the University of Toledo.
“I’m excited for DeShone,” Central coach Greg Dempsey said. “It’s one thing to have the ability to play at a school of that magnitude, but I think he’s taken care of everything else that gives him the opportunity to play at the University of Notre Dame.
“DeShone and his family had a list of things they were looking for in the schools as they went through this process, and I think Notre Dame just hit on all of the things they listed.
“It was the quality of the education, the magnitude of the football program, and the location [South Bend, Ind.] with how close it is to the family. That made things great for the whole family, not just DeShone.”
Kizer had also not yet visited the University of Tennessee, which he had recently listed among his five top options along with Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, and Michigan State.
Dempsey said that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had recently asked Kizer to throw for him in Columbus, but there had yet to be an offer from the Buckeyes, or from Big Ten rival Michigan.
Dempsey said that Kizer had attended camps at both Ohio State and Michigan last summer.
Kizer is relieved to have his college choice made well in advance of his senior year.
“The weight of the world is now off my shoulders,” Kizer said. “I had a lot of long conversations and arguments with my family trying to determine which school I wanted to be at.
“Today is a big relief for me and my family, and now I can focus on trying to win another state championship in football, and to work on being the best person I can be before I get to Notre Dame.”
Kizer said he will stick to his commitment.
“As a family, we are honorable to our word,” he said. “Now that I am committed to Notre Dame, that is the only school I will be pursuing.”
Kizer had also received Big Ten offers from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern, and Wisconsin, as well as future conference member Rutgers.
Bowling Green, along with Toledo, was included among the multiple offers he had received from Mid-American Conference schools.
Nationally, he had also gotten Division-I offers from Arkansas, Boston College, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky, Marshall, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse, among others, according to Dempsey.
An adept, all-around athlete, Kizer started as a freshman on the Irish basketball team which advanced to the Division I state semifinals in 2011, and has started the past two seasons as well. He also started as an outfielder and batted cleanup on Central’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference championship baseball team.
Contact Steve Junga at: email@example.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.