Elder’s Welch steals sister’s thunder, announces Notre Dame decision at graduation party

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Cincinnati Elder TE Alex Welch

Alex Welch wasn’t trying to, but he kind of stole his older sister’s thunder on Sunday. Right after the standout tight end from Elder High in Cincinnati spoke
to Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Welch arrived at his sister’s
college graduation party to announce to family and friends in
attendance, that he will indeed be playing football and attending
college in South Bend.


Alex Welch wasn’t trying to, but he kind of stole his older sister’s thunder on Sunday.

Right after the standout tight end from Elder High in Cincinnati spoke to Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Welch arrived at his sister’s college graduation party to announce to family and friends in attendance, that he will indeed be playing football and attending college in South Bend.

“They’ve all been waiting for this,” Welch said. “They were all very excited.”

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Welch was approaching 25 scholarship offers, and chose Notre Dame over the likes of Ohio State, Oklahoma and Florida State. Weis and the Irish staff offered Welch a full-ride on May 14th.

“I’ve been leaning real hard towards them lately, and I went on a visit to the campus on Thursday, and I really enjoyed it, but I wanted to be sure,” Welch began. “I went up to Ohio State for a visit on Friday, and then I let the weekend play out, and I talked to coach Weis last night and let him know.”

Said Elder head coach Doug Ramsey: “I think the two schools that Alex had always wanted to go to were Notre Dame and Ohio State. Alex went to both schools last week and made his decision.”

From the same high school as Notre Dame’s sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph, Welch caught 32 passes for 470 yards and four touchdowns this past fall, helping lead Elder to a spot in Ohio’s Division-I state title game. Welch and company lost to Irish signee Dan Fox and his St. Ignatius teammates 28-20.

For Welch, joining Rudolph and Fox at Notre Dame was an easy decision.

“Alex has always been a fan of Notre Dame,” Ramsey said. “He decided (to commit) now because he knew what we wanted to do and now he does not have to deal with the process any longer.”

Welch becomes the fourth member to verbally commit to Weis in the class-of-2010, and will be coming in with offensive tackle Christian Lombard, receiver Daniel Smith and defensive end Chris Martin.

“My heart,” Welch said of why he made the call. “Just growing up, that’s where I’ve wanted to play football, and after talking with Kyle and going up there for that visit, that’s where I belong.”

Welch has been bred to love Notre Dame since he was a young boy. His uncle Steve Heimkreiter played linebacker for the Irish, and his 398 career tackles rank third all-time in program history. The two have spent many Saturdays together watching Notre Dame football.

Heimkreiter was not at his niece’s graduation party from Cincinnati, so Welch had to get him on the horn to deliver the news.

“He was one of the first people I called,” Welch said. “He just started laughing. He was very excited. He wanted me to make my own decision, but he was trying to coach me towards going to Notre Dame.”

Speaking of coaching, Welch loves the way the Irish use Rudolph and the rest of the tight ends.

“That’s one of the main reasons I did make the decision to go there. They do use two-tight end sets, and three-tight end sets, so that’s a plus.”

It will also be a plus playing alongside Rudolph again.

“I did learn a lot from him being a backup to him for one year, and then in basketball we played together on the basketball team. I’ve learned things from him, not necessarily just on the field, but off the field as well.”

Despite being her day, Welch said his sister wasn’t upset about when he chose to tell the family about his college decision. It became both of their days.

“She wanted me to commit to Notre Dame when I was there on the visit,” Welch laughed. “She came with us and was pushing me then. She’s excited.”

Welch, who is ranked the No. 21 player in Ohio High Magazine’s Top 100 list for the 2010 class, will be among Elder’s top returners this fall. The Panthers are considered the area preseason favorite in Division I.

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