'Rudy' led to Hunter Bivin's pledge to ND

Hunter Bivin was once compared to his brother, Harris Bivin, who was a former standout at Owensboro (Ky.) Apollo. Now, there's a more historical comparison.

Hunter Bivin is the most publicized athlete to come out of Apollo High School since basketball star Rex Chapman starred at the school in the mid-1980's. After a standout career at Kentucky, Chapman went on to play several seasons in the NBA.

“Since him, I don't know that we've gotten the national exposure,” Bivin said of his school. “So I think it's definetely a plus for our school and good for our football program to get out there and get some national exposure.”

As far as national exposure, the Under Armour All-American Game should be just the beginning for Bivin. He's been committed to Notre Dame since March. At the time, Bivin took a bit of a leap of faith. Now, it looks like a solid decision.

After a 13-6 win over Michigan last week, the Fighting Irish are 4-0. Off-season questions about the future of the program seem to have been erased or at least put on hold.

“It seems like they're going in the right direction to get to a BCS bowl game,” the ESPN 150 prospect said.

The future Notre Dame offensive lineman has kept a close eye on his future position and future teammates. He's been duly impressed with both.

“They're playing awesome,” Bivin said. “I'm really impressed. (Offensive tackle) Zach Martin is the anchor of the offensive line. I watch him every time I go up there and watch him on T.V. He's been a big role model of mine. I'm really impressed.”

Bivin couldn't have been certain that would be the case when he committed. So why did he pick Notre Dame over Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State and Wisconsin, which were his other finalists?

“I had been a Notre Dame fan since I was a little kid, since I saw the movie 'Rudy',” Bivin said. “When all my offers came, I told myself I didn't want to just go to Notre Dame because I was huge fan.”

So Bivin evaluated his options and took his time. Yet Notre Dame felt like a “home away from home” during a visit there for a junior event. Moreover, the emotional 1993 movie about Daniel “Rudy” Reuttiger always tugged at Bivin's heart. Harris Bivin saw as much when his younger brother was a high school underclassman.

“Hunter has probably watched 'Rudy' more than anybody I know,” Harris said. “He was all about the glory and the history behind it and all that. He and my dad, I'd come home and they're were watching it.”

The Bivins' father passed away in June 2010. Since, those around Hunter Bivin have said he has become a more aggressive football player. Bivin's father, Randy Bivin, would be proud. Following in his son's footsteps, Randy Bivin also became a Notre Dame fan before his passing.

“I watched it, too, but I wasn't as big into it. He was younger so he was probably into it more. My dad always told us he'd be proud regardless but I guarantee he'd be right there with him and be proud of him.”