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Meet Notre Dame's New Safety: Thomas Harper

By: Nick Kremer⏐Editor⏐Twitter: @NickKremerIT⏐Profile: @NickKremer

When Oklahoma State safety Thomas Harper announced his transfer to Notre Dame, fans of the Fighting Irish knew they were getting a physical and competitive player. But what they may not have realized is that they're also getting a leader who is determined to help his team win at all costs. In an exclusive interview with Harper, he made it clear that he's not just a talented player, but a team player who is ready to do whatever it takes to bring Notre Dame to the top.

In talking with Harper, the first thing I thought of was "this guy is a competitor." With Harper joining the Notre Dame defense, the Fighting Irish are sure to have a player that gives 100% and is a leader on the field. Harper's physicality, passion, and determination will definitely make him a valuable asset to the team and one that the fans should look forward to watching.

Photo Credit - Instagram iamtharp_

What are some of your hobbies outside of football?

"I'm kind of chill and laid back. I like to read a lot, watch movies, go outdoors, fish and hike."

How was the process of going through a second recruitment? What were your final schools? Did NIL play a role?

"It came down to Kansas St, Michigan St, Tulane, and Notre Dame. NIL was not the leading cause of my decision. I was more concerned with being on a team that can compete for a National Title or a New Years 6 bowl. Being on a team that will be in the top 10. Along with that, I wanted to go somewhere that would maximize my potential. Somewhere that I can continue to improve my game and get good coaching."

What was it about Notre Dame that made you decide to commit?

"When you think of Notre Dame, me personally, I think of prestige. I think of a consistently good football program that wins. That was all very attractive for me. Also, the players that they have produced on the back end and on the defensive side of the ball. The coaches and their resumes made it a very attractive destination for me when they offered."

In watching your film, it looks as though you can play anywhere in the secondary. Safety and Nickel are the two areas of need for the Irish, do you have a preference? And why?

"The coaching staff explained to me that they are looking for me to play either nickel or safety. They think I can add a lot of versatility to the secondary. I don’t really have a preference. I enjoy playing both. Honestly, I feel like playing nickel is a little bit more difficult, but I don’t have a preference. I enjoy playing both."

You played special teams at Oklahoma State. Did the staff talk to you about playing special teams at Notre Dame?

"No we didn't really get into special teams, but I assume that I am going to be a part of special teams. I'm not a guy that doesn't want to be on special teams. Its a big part of the game and especially with this season, watching all the games, special teams plays a huge role. I’m sure I will have a role on special teams. Whatever role that is, I will be sure to execute that role and do my job."
"I did return some kicks at Oklahoma St. I mainly played wide receiver in high school, so I have a background with the ball in my hands."

Do you have a relationship with anyone on the Notre Dame team? You visited around the same time as Hartman, what are your thoughts on him?

"Sam came in a little bit earlier than me, and we both had busy schedules, but I got to talk with him some. He’s a really good guy. Real good dude. I look forward to him being my teammate."

Which coaches have you had a chance to get to know?

"Coach Bowden and Coach O’Leary, I was with both of them pretty much the whole visit. I got to spend time with them, pick their brain, and get a feel for how they think and who they are as people. I mean, I love them both. I think they are both good guys and good coaches that can help me."

What are your thoughts on Marcus Freeman?

"I think coach Freeman is great. I think he does a great job of leading and pushing his players to be leaders. He encourages you to ask questions and challenge everything. Really, just helps them to become better people overall as a person. My little time I spent with him, we had a really good conversation. He's just a good guy, good person, and obviously knows the game of football. I look forward to learning from him, not just football wise, but in life and leadership too. I think he's a great guy. I have nothing but positive things to say."

Photo Credit - Twitter @IamThomasHarper

What do you plan to study?

"I am a grad transfer, but I want to focus on something related to business. I plan to take advantage of being there and want to get a masters degree."

What is one thing that surprised you about the recruiting process?

"Nothing crazy, but what surprised me was the job that all the recruiters did. I had people that followed me from high school that reached out. That was kind of crazy how some relationships can be so genuine."

Personal goal for this upcoming season? Team goal?

"That's a great question. I like to break down my goals periodically, specifically for the Spring, I want to know the playbook in and out. I want to be able to know the playbook like the back of my hand. I want to know what everybody does around me. That's a big goal for me in the Spring. Also, creating that bond, that brotherhood with my new teammates. For the Spring that's really what I am focused on. Also, getting healthy and getting my body the best its ever been."
"My goal for the upcoming season is to be competing for a National Championship. Really, it all comes down to winning. I really just want to be able to win as many games as possible with my brothers and my teammates."

A message to Notre Dame nation

"You should expect from me that the bottom line to me is winning games. Being able to win is fun. I’m a player that wants to win and I am going to compete at all times, so you can definitely expect that out of me."

As the interview with Thomas Harper came to a close, it was clear that he is not just a talented safety, but a leader who is determined to make an impact on the field. His passion for the game, his competitive spirit, and his willingness to do whatever it takes to win make him a valuable addition to the Notre Dame team. Harper's physicality and leadership will be a great asset for the Fighting Irish and it will be exciting to see him in action on the field. With Harper leading the way, Notre Dame's defense will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.


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