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Meet Notre Dame's New Big Man On Campus: Sam Pendleton

By: Mike Stacey | Writer | Twitter: @MikeStaceyIT

Credit: Sports Illustrated

I recently had the opportunity to talk with 2023 Notre Dame commit Sam Pendleton out of Reagan high school in North Carolina. Sam is a versatile 4 star offensive lineman who projects to play interior O-line for the Irish. In talking with Sam, I can assure you all that not only is Notre Dame getting a terrific talent but a true "Notre Dame Man". Sam has a great head on his shoulders and seems to prioritize everything that Notre Dame is looking for in a recruit. He values his education, the traditions at Notre Dame, doing things the right way and hard work. After one conversation with him, I already can't wait to see what this young man does moving forward! Sam will be an early enrollee for the Irish this season.

I spoke to Sam about his recruitment, Notre Dame, and his fellow classmates, among a few other things. Check it out below!

On what the recruiting process was like for him:

Sam: "I enjoyed it for the most part. I was a late offer guy, I didn't get a lot of offers until late December, early January, but I really enjoyed going to the games and being a part of that process. It was nice to be able to say I was actually recruited. I met a lot of players and coaches I look up to so, yeah, I would not change anything."

On schools that were on his radar/dream schools going into the recruiting process:

Sam: "I've always liked NC State, Clemson, and Michigan and those schools but I never really had a dream school that I wanted to go to."

On why he chose Notre Dame:

Sam: "I wanted to go somewhere that had tradition a bit more than just football. Notre Dame is full of tradition, whether it is football or academics, They really believe in what they do. They believe that everyone should get their degree and pursue the degree that they want. Coach Free (Freeman) has done a great job developing that atmosphere on campus. I really loved the last time I went up there, and on top of that they are one of the most prestigious offensive line universities. They have really great coaches in coach Heistand and coach Watt, so just a couple of things I am looking forward to and that attracted me."

On the moment when he knew he was going to choose Notre Dame:

Sam: "I went to visit the day before my birthday and I was very intentional with my visit. It was a very important trip for me to take because I knew that I had a lot of interest in them. So I got there, got off the plane, it was about an hour and a half into my visit and after interacting with the coaches, seeing the environment, talking to coach Free, talking to the guys, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. It's not flashy, it's not super NIL getting carried away, it's college football and it's the way it should be. So that's what really attracted me and when I knew."

On what his favorite thing is about Notre Dame:

Sam: "I would say the tradition. I really love all the traditions at Notre Dame. The Victory March from the Basilica to the stadium, the no names on your jerseys, the traditional uniforms, the song as you enter the stadium, and how die hard the fans are. They abide by the tradition and it's not just some people follow some don't, if you are a Notre Dame fan you follow the tradition."

On his goals for this season and where he sees himself fitting into the offense:

Sam: "I really want to be able to make travel team my freshman year. Even if I don't play I want to be able to be a part of the team and active. Whether I'm on the scout team, whether I'm 3rd string, whether I'm second string I am going to work my hardest to put myself in the best position I can be in. With regard to position I am an interior guy, that's what the coaches have told me. I played tackle at my high school but they are going to move me inside. I'm really excited to play that position, a position I am confident playing. I can snap the ball, I can play guard, left or right, wherever they are going to put me, I'll play ball. (Text doesn't do this quote justice, you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice, this guy is READY) That's how I am looking forward to adding to the offense."

On his relationship with the other guys in the class:

Sam: "I feel like we are one of the tightest recruiting classes in the nation and I stand by that. I have a lot of other friends who are going to other universities and we will talk about our groups, talk about our guys, and I really think we have a special bond. We are really like-minded and we all have the same goals and I feel it's going to be good for the chemistry of the team. I'm really close with the offensive line, being an offensive lineman myself, I was the first O-line guy to commit so I really was involved in talking to people about coming to Notre Dame, thinking about it as your future, especially Offensive Lineman. I have another guy from my area coming up with me, so Sulli (Sullivan Absher) and I are really close, Joe (Otting), Charles (Jagusah), The only one I haven't met yet is Chris (Terek) because he committed late but I am sure we are going to bond just fine."

On who in the class is the funniest guy:

Sam: "Devan Houstan. (There was NO hesitation) Devan is the funniest guy I have been around in a long time."

On who is the most intimidating/tough guy in the class:

Sam: "I'd say, hmm....I have never heard Brenan Vernon speak more than 5 words to me. I mean he's a nice guy he just doesn't talk much, kind of that quiet stoic guy. I would probably say him."

On who is the top gamer in the class:

Sam: "Oh that's tough! I am going to go either Adon or Devan is pretty good too not going to lie. I am going to go with Adon Shuler. Or Drayk, Drayk Bowen is really good too."

On some of his hobbies outside of football:

Sam: "Yeah so I live on a farm, up in northern North Carolina, so I spend a lot of my time fishing, hanging out with my family, I spend a lot of my time lifting weights. I really enjoy it. I got started doing it because of football and then I just fell in love with lifting weights and being fit, so those are some of my hobbies."

On his favorite NFL team (Go Birds):

Sam: "I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan."

(As long as it isn't the Cowboys)

On which NFL player he compares himself/aspires to be like:

Sam: "I really want to be like Zach Martin, not to be cliche because of the Notre Dame thing, but he is very technical, we have similar body builds he is a hard worker, he's not a loud mouth or a trash talker, his actions speak for themselves. He has more pro bowl appearances than he has holding penalties, and that's something I aspire to do too. So, yeah, I aspire to be like him."

On his favorite spot on campus:

Sam: "Thats hard. I really like that little courtyard in front of Touchdown Jesus. Right where the stadium is, people passing through all the time, always a breeze blowing, I really like it there."

I hope you all enjoyed this interview! To get to know Sam Pendleton more, give him a follow on Twitter @SamPendleton7 or on Instagram @samuelpendleton72. Go Irish!


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