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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Clarkston four-star lineman Rocco Spindler commits to Notre Dame

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, August 8, 2020, 6:08 pm

CLARKSTON — The Spindler household has long had a love-hate relationship with Notre Dame. As of Saturday, the love is flowing at an all-time high.

Clarkston senior offensive lineman Rocco Spindler committed to Notre Dame Saturday evening at an emotional ceremony held on his home field where he declared that his choice to don a Fighting Irish uniform in college was a tribute to his grandfather, who died of cancer last year.

“My grandpa wanted this for me and I want to fulfill his wish,” said a teary-eyed Spindler of his decision. “This was always his dream for me and now it’s my dream and it’s becoming a reality.”

Spindler made the announcement on a web broadcast on CBS Sports HQ.

The 6-foot-4.5, 315-pound two-way lineman is projected to offensive guard in college. He’s ranked as a four-star recruit overall, the No. 4 player in Michigan and the No. 5 guard in the nation by 247Sports. Rivals also lists him as a four-star, and the No. 56 player nationally. ESPN’s recruiting service listed him as the No. 86 player overall, the top guard in the nation, and the No. 3 player in the state. Spindler ranked No. 3 on the STATE CHAMPS! 300 list of top recruits, regardless of class.

Spindler’s dad, Marc, a retired NFL vet, always had a disdain for the Golden Domers, while his father, Geroge, was a die-hard Notre Dame fan. The elder Spindler chose Pittsburgh over Notre Dame back in 1987.

“My dad really pushed Rocco towards Notre Dame. … I couldn’t stand them before today,” Marc joked with a scrum of reporters after the ceremony was completed. “When I was at Pitt, we had some wars, just fierce, ferocious battles. Now, I put this Notre Dame hat on (the entire Spindler family put Notre Dame hats on upon Rocco’s making his decision official) and I’ll wear it with pride.”

Despite his prior reservations, Marc, a scrappy defensive lineman in his playing days and vocal leader in the Detroit Lions locker room of the 1990s, sees the selling points to joining the Fighting Irish.

“The history of the school, the tradition of the football program, the fight song, the gold helmet, it’s alluring,” he said. “This day, this decision isn’t about me, its about Rocco and I don’t think he could have made a bad selection. Every school on his list was top notch. Every coaching staff was sincere in its recruitment of him. At Notre Dame, like my dad would always tell him, you’re getting the reputation on the football field, the highest standards of education and then you look at all the linemen that program has put into the pros. My dad was a pretty good pitch man.”

Rocco’s love for his pops was evident in his post-commitment remarks.

“One of the most important things my father has taught me is that you pour everything you have into whatever endeavor you choose, you dedicate yourself mind, body and spirit,” he said. “Those are traits I want to embody in every facet of my life. He’s my inspiration. His passion, his work ethic and determination as a player and as a father to me and my three sisters is contagious.” 

The younger Spindler is a four-year starter for Clarkston at both on the offensive line and at defensive tackle. He won a Division 1 state title as a freshman and helped the Wolves return to the state finals at Ford Field as a sophomore in 2018.