Our fourth in a series of columns examining each of Notre Dame's classes entering the season reviews…
Safety set to Return to Notre Dame
Scout.com shares the background of Chris Badger who returned to Notre Dame at the beginning of June to begin summer conditioning.
Hailing from Provo, Utah, Badger says it was the end of his sophomore season at Timpview High School that put him on the recruiting map as a safety prospect.
“I attended one of the best programs in the state, and I earned a starting spot on varsity as a sophomore,” Badger commented. “We won the state championship that season, and in the championship game, I recorded two interceptions. The summer going into my junior year, I received my first two offers from BYU and Utah.”
“Following my junior season, I put a highlight tape together and sent it out to a bunch of schools. Coach (Mickey) Andrews at Florida State offered me first, and it was a snowball effect after that. I ended up with 13 scholarship offers, and I verbally committed to Notre Dame in July before my senior season,” Badger continued.
Badger enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2010 to participate in spring drills and summer conditioning.
“I wanted to get know my teammates and coaches before I left for my mission, so I’m really glad I spent time in South Bend before leaving for Ecuador. It was great to get a feel for what it’s going to require at this level, and I am confident I’m returning better prepared to handle it,” Badger said.
Badger recently finished his first week of summer conditioning for the upcoming season. Part of his return to South Bend is re-uniting with head coach Brian Kelly, and building a relationship with his new position coach Bob Elliot.
“Coach Kelly is a winner. He knows how to motivate his players and get the best out of them. He leads the program and really values your off-field development. He cares to see you become a better person, a spiritual person, and one who cares for his teammates. Coach Kelly is a really good person,” Badger stated.
“Coach Elliot is a really great teacher. In the two times I met with him this past week, I could easily tell he cares about his players as people. He has great football knowledge and is a simplifier.”
Badger still has five years to play four, but his mindset entering summer workouts is that he will play this fall. He turns 21 in November.
“I’m focused this summer on becoming the most physically and mentally prepared player I can be,” Badger remarked. “I’m going to study as much film as I can and get to know the defense inside and out. I want to be a field general out there at safety.”
Notre Dame designates their safeties as ‘field’ and ‘boundary’ instead of the traditional terms of ‘free’ or ‘strong.’ With veteran depth in front of him, Badger believes he is versatile enough to play either position.
Before arriving in South Bend, Badger traveled to Bradenton, Fla. to join the IMG Academy football program for two weeks of training.
“I really enjoyed my time at the IMG Football Academy,” said Badger. “It’s a professionally ran, organized facility. It was my first organized workout with a position coach since leaving South Bend, and I had a great learning experience. I received a lot of individual coaching with my position coach, Michael Hawthorne, working on the little things I need to do to be able to take my game to the next level. We focused a lot on my footwork and my steps getting in and out of breaks. I also learned how to play press man coverage, which is something I really want to be able to do as a safety.”
Now that football is back in session, Badger says his experience in Ecuador has brought him a renewed focus and a higher level of happiness than he has ever experienced.
“My trip to Ecuador really taught me a lot about myself. It was a lot of work, and I had to learn how to organize my time, implement a daily plan to follow and set goals for myself. It helped put everything in perspective to know the opportunity I have to play college football and attend Notre Dame. I am happier than I have ever been, and I’m excited to get back to football and give it everything I’ve got,” Badger concluded.
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