For quite some time, life has been about priorities for Jordan Botelho.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior also has dreams. He fulfilled one today by committing orally to Notre Dame, accepting a football scholarship via phone with Fighting Irish recruiting director Brian Polian.
Botelho planned to make a choice among the 22 scholarship offers before senior year began, but after visiting the campus at South Bend, Ind. over the weekend, he was almost 100-percent certain.
“I got home and thought about it. All the boxes were checked. The biggest one is education. Another big one is the coaching staff,” Botelho said. “When I was there, Coach (Mike) Elston, in the film room, he broke down my film and compared me to his players. He showed me how they play and how I’m a good fit with them.”
Botelho has already called several coaches from other schools to inform them of his decision.
“I got in contact with the coaches I have close relationships with,” he said.
Botelho’s prime talent is rushing the passer, being an edge rusher with acceleration and agility. He was a Star-Advertiser All-State first-team linebacker for three-time defending state champion Saint Louis last fall.
“I made my decision and I was planning on telling Coach Polian when I see him later today, but I called him and just told him (by phone). He said he’s excited. I feel great. I feel excited,” Botelho said.
He follows in a path being taken by more and more student-athletes. Botelho will finish his studies at Saint Louis in the fall semester, then enroll at Notre Dame for spring semester of 2020. Tua Tagovailoa did the same when he went to Alabama. Defensive lineman Gino Quinones did the same, enrolling at USC last spring.
“The reason why I committed so early is so I can finish up and take the next step forward. Meeting with my counselors to make sure everything is set up,” he said. “I talked to Gino and he recommended it. He said it helps you get used to everything faster, and you start getting more prepared.”
Botelho will turn 18 in May.
“My parents are both happy. They know I’ll be taken care of,” he said.
He will make one exception next spring while he’s in the Midwest.
“I think I’ll come back for prom,” Botelho said.
Other notable local players to play at Notre Dame include former All-State defensive player of the year Manti Te‘o of Punahou, wide receiver Robby Toma (Punahou), and more recently, defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (Kapolei) and defensive back Alohi Gilman (Kahuku). The Fighting Irish also recruited Punahou defensive back Marist Liufau from the ’19 recruiting class.
Update: Other former Notre Dame football players from the islands — offensive lineman Shawn Ching (Punahou), the late Kona Schwenke (Kahuku defensive lineman), placekicker Reggie Ho (Saint Louis) and placekicker Stefan Schroffner (Punahou).