AUSTIN, Texas —
For those expecting a few recruiting flips at the International Bowl this week, Devin Butler
says "don't look here."
Once the Gonzaga (Washington, District of Columbia)
defensive back and receiver stepped onto the Notre Dame campus almost a year ago, he was hooked. No more visits needed. Do not call. The recruiting process is done.
"Just like that," said the personable 6-foot-1, 179-pound senior who is in Austin to represent the under-19 U.S. team against The World team in the fourth annual International Bowl on Tuesday. "It felt like home as soon as I arrived. Everyone involved with the program was completely welcoming. It was just a special type of enthusiasm."
Evidently Butler made it so crystal clear of his intentions that no more hard offers have come in since he committed in April.
Not that he would have seriously listened.
Besides his instincts about Notre Dame, the Irish enjoyed a breakthrough season while reaching the National Championship game. That only furthered Butler's commitment.
"Yes, that helped cement my decision and plus the history Notre Dame has," Butler said. "I can't wait to sign on Wednesday."
Butler will be at least 43 U.S. players who will sign together during a breakfast ceremony the day after the International Bowl Butler did a little bit of everything for Gonzaga last season with 10 pass deflections, 46 tackles and three interceptions from his cornerback spot. He also caught four touchdown passes.
The only Notre Dame commit in the game, Butler said there's always good banter between the players concerning college choices. He's had an especially good jaw-fest with
Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.)
defensive back Jourdan Lewis
, one of four U.S. players heading for Michigan.
The others are tight end Khalid Hill, linebacker Ben Gedeon and offensive lineman David Dawson.
"He'll say 'go big blue,' and I'll say, 'that blue is kind of ugly,' " Butler said. "It's all good. We're all teammates at the end of the day."
This American team is especially tight, they say, because they really want to win. The World team won last year's International Bowl and Canada defeated a U.S. team last summer in the World Championships, also in Austin. Many of the players from that summer team are here this week.
"It's very important for us to win," Butler said. "I think we'll be playing with a little chip on our shoulder. Especially those guys who played for us last summer. They don't want to taste that defeat again."
Winning is important, Butler said, but simply representing his country is vastly more prideful for him.
"Frankly, I've been champing at the bit to get down here to represent," he said. "A lot of guys can say they went to this elite camp or that camp, but not everyone can say they represented the United States of America."
It's good to come to Texas also because Butler's father has extended family in the Fort Worth and Tyler region. Butler, in fact, grew up a Cowboys fan, but he'll be rooting for the Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl against the 49ers.
"I'll root for the Ravens because of Ray Lewis," Butler said. "He's an inspiration. He made a big mistake earlier in his life and he's learned from it and grown. I think that's inspirational for anybody."
Butler said he was inspired to see head coach Aaron Brady arrive in Austin for the first time Friday. Brady, who is Butler's head coach at Gonzaga, suffered an appendicitis last week which required surgery.
"I talked to him at the hospital but it was really good to see him yesterday," Butler said. "It was good to see him smiling again."See the USA team roster and more on the International Bowl and USA Football.