Notre Dame has offered a scholarship to undersized safety prospect Nicco Fertitta, the middle child of Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, according to Mark Raimondi of Fox Sports.
Nicco, a member of the 2015 recruiting class, tweeted the news himself:
Ostensibly, the "haters" that Nicco's referring to are those in the scouting community responsible for his low ranking. The 5'9'' defensive back is unlisted on the 247Sports composite, Rivals.com rankings and ESPN.com rankings, though Scout.com rates him the No. 30 safety in the class.
Still, Fertitta, whose older brother plays at FCS Villanova, has not gone without suitors at the FBS level. Notre Dame joins Boston College, Hawaii and Utah in offering him a scholarship, while UNLV has also shown a little bit of interest.
Per Raimondi, Fertitta told Scout.com that the Notre Dame offer validates his hard work, but he doesn't plan on ending his recruitment early:
It’s a great feeling for sure. Notre Dame is a big-time school and it just kind of shows that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off. I’m not looking to make an early commitment or anything right now. I’m still open to every school and haven’t even thought about cutting my list down but the offer from Notre Dame is definitely a big one for me for sure.
Raimondi also confirms that the scholarship is a full ride, which some observers are sure to take issue with considering Nicco's surname. His father has made billions, not millions, of dollars with UFC and in the casino industry, so he's far from in need of financial aid.
Still, Notre Dame is allowed to dole out scholarships however it pleases. For Fertitta, it would be hard to condemn the acceptance of a scholarship, which serves as tangible confirmation of all his hard work.
Once you've been branded with the dreaded "undersized" label, it's hard to earn respect from one of the country's biggest programs.
Fertitta will be a senior next year at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.