All of the signs seemed right for Christian Lombard to make his college choice even though he won't be able to sign a football letter of intent for more than a year.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Fremd junior offensive lineman and Daily Herald All-Area selection announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame during Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl for some of the top high school seniors in the country.
"It kind of happened," said Lombard, who was in San Antonio for the junior combine at the game. "I was almost ready (to commit) so I decided why not. I was planning on doing it soon."
Lombard, one of the most sought-after national recruits in the Class of 2010, chose the Irish over Iowa. Wisconsin was also among more than 30 schools that had already made scholarship offers.
"I felt overall (Notre Dame) had the perfect blend of what I wanted," said Lombard, who has a 3.0 grade-point average and is considering studying business. "I got along with the players and I got to know the coaches really well.
"Most importantly if something was to go wrong in football, I can fall back on a great education from Notre Dame."
All of the turmoil at the end of this season involving head coach Charlie Weis' future with the Irish didn't bother Lombard. Notre Dame finished 7-6 with a victory over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.
"The way I looked at it, if these coaches were going to be gone, Notre Dame in itself would be a good decision, with or without those coaches," Lombard said. "I think coach Weis is an awesome guys and the other coaches, I got along with those guys too.
"I think they have a bright future. It's a young team that's going to be good for years to come."
And Lombard hopes he can have a chance to make an early impact at tackle for the Irish after making an even bigger impact in his final season at Fremd.
"I've been in the process since the beginning of the summer - and there was definitely a lot of pressure so it felt good to get it off my back," Lombard said. "Now I can focus on getting better, lifting and getting stronger and getting ready for next season."