Hartley High School junior Jacob Matuska waited a few days before solidifying one of the most important decisions of his life this week.

Notre Dame had offered a scholarship for him to play football, and it's the school he always has followed. He took a visit with less than 10 other recruits last weekend, and left impressed.

Matuska also believed that it wouldn't hurt to think hard about his decision, especially considering how much he enjoyed his official visit to Michigan a few weeks ago.

In the end, there probably wasn't much that any school outside of Notre Dame could do to earn his services.

Matuska, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder who is expected to play defensive end for the Fighting Irish, picked the school that felt closest to his heart Wednesday morning when he verbally committed to Notre Dame.

I caught up with Matuska for an exclusive interview a few minutes after his Hartley boys basketball team lost to Watterson 45-43 in a Division II district semifinal Wednesday night at Dublin Scioto, a game in which he helped to ignite a second-half comeback that came up just short.

"It was between Notre Dame and Michigan, and both of them obviously have great academics," Matuska said. "Notre Dame has been my dream school since I can remember. It has a Hartley feeling to it.

"It was tough after Saturday. After seeing Michigan a couple weeks ago, I just wanted to make sure, so I talked about it with my family and thought about it. Going up there showed me what (Notre Dame) is all about."

Matuska, who talked with the Notre Dame coaching staff including head coach Brian Kelly on Wednesday morning, doesn't mind that he's initially being looked at as a defensive end.

Some of the other schools who had been hot after Matuska considered him more of a tight end prospect.

According to Hartley coach Brad Burchfield, Matuska is the first Notre Dame recruit from his school in more than 40 years.

You can check out Matuska's recruiting page on ScoutingOhio.com here. Notre Dame was among more than a dozen Division I offers for Matuska, who is intending to play basketball for Hartley as a senior next season.

Matuska was a key player last season for the Hawks basketball team when it advanced to a state semifinal.

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