Kendrick Gilbert had just finished his fourth repetition of a one-on-one drill at Notre Dame’s Irish Invasion recruiting camp in early June when he heard a voice calling out to him.
It was Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston addressing the 6-5, 270-pound defensive lineman out of Indianapolis Cathedral High School’s class of 2023.
Right there, in the middle of the field, in the middle of a drill, in the middle of arguably the most important football camp Gilbert has ever attended, Elston offered Gilbert a scholarship.
“At first, I didn’t pay attention to it,” Gilbert said. “It took a second to register. I was like, ‘Wait, really?’ And he said yes. I thanked him and smiled. When my parents found out, they were happy. Especially my sister.”
Blue and gold already run through Gilbert’s sister’s veins. Katlyn Gilbert is going into her senior season as a guard on the Notre Dame women’s basketball team. She was an ACC All-Freshman Team selection in the 2019-20 season after averaging 13.6 points per game.
Gilbert technically has three years of eligibility remaining. She took a redshirt season as a true freshman, and everyone was granted an extra year of eligibility during the pandemic-affected season in 2020-21.
Still, the only way the Gilbert siblings’ time at Notre Dame would cross over is if Katlyn uses her two years of remaining eligibility in South Bend and Kendrick enrolls early in the spring 2023 semester.
It’s way too far in advance to forecast something like that coming to fruition. Gilbert just received his first scholarship offer in late March, after all. It’s very early in his recruiting process.
“It’s been crazy,” Gilbert said. “Just a few months back I remember thinking, ‘Dang, I really want this first offer.’ Ever since I got it, it’s just been growing as I’ve continued to work. I got to show the coaches at Notre Dame all my work, and it paid off.”
Between Gilbert already liking his relationship with Elston and having his sister in an Irish uniform of her own to look up to, it’s safe to say Notre Dame will remain top of mind for the budding defensive end product out of Indy.
“This one definitely means a lot,” Gilbert said. “Being able to go to the same school as my sister would mean so much. Notre Dame is really big for me. I really like the school. There is family there. The environment suits me. I just really like it.”
Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Notre Dame, Penn State and Purdue have offered Gilbert so far.
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