On Wednesday night, the effects still hadn’t worn off. When Zeke Motta went to bed, he knew he’d be verbally committing to Notre Dame on Thursday afternoon.
Before his practice at Vero Beach (Fla.) High, the four-star linebacker/safety called Irish assistant coach Bernie Parmalee.
“I told him coach, I’m going to give you the good news,” the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Motta said. He chose the Irish over Florida, Boston College and Auburn, where his father played linebacker. “He was excited about that, and he put me on the phone with coach (Charlie) Weis. I was like hey coach I’m committing. He was excited about that and said he was looking forward to getting me up there. He told my Dad he wasn’t going to try and be my Dad but he’d look after me. I told him I was excited.”
When Motta arrived in South Bend on Friday for his official visit, he felt like he was at home.
“I’d say just aside from everything else, I fit there,” Motta said. “I fit the type of player they’re looking for, and along with that, I guess you could say they have a top-notch academic program and I’m looking forward to helping them make it to the National Championship.
“I’m excited to be a part of that.”
So far this season, Vero Beach High is 4-1, with Motta racking up 30 solos, 15 assists with five of those tackles coming for loss. Motta also has two sacks, an interception, three quarterback pressures, a pass breakup, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and one pass break up.
Motta will end his prep football career in early January as a U.S. Army All-American. A few days later, he will report to Notre Dame for the spring semester as an early enrollee, joining future teammates Tyler Stockton and E.J. Banks.
“I think that just getting there will benefit me academically as well as athletically,” Motta said. “With that opportunity, I will be looking to graduate and maybe get my masters or something. Also, it kind of provides you the opportunity to learn the system and get adjusted to things so you’ll be more comfortable when the season rolls around next year.”
The Notre Dame coaching staff envisions Motta playing the same role in the defense that sophomore Harrison Smith does this season. A outside linebacker-safety mix.
Motta spent the last few days talking things over with his family.
“I just kind of didn’t want to make my decision based on emotions of when I was there,” Motta explained. “I wanted to reflect on my visit. And then I came home and I talked it over with my whole family and told them how I felt, and they felt it was going to be a good place for me.”