SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Chase Claypool has never lacked confidence.
"It's not a 50-50 ball," Claypool said. "It should be an 80-20 or a 90-10 ball. I told Book if he throws it up, it's usually a catch."
This season alone, Claypool has nine touchdown catches.
That tops his touchdown total from his first three years on campus combined, and Claypool knows he's grown since Year 1 in the shadow of the Golden Dome.
"I understand now what they are asking from me," Claypool said. "I think I've become a smarter player. Obviously a more physical player, and now that the ball is coming to me a little more, I've become a more confident player as well. "
Still, Brian Kelly says Claypool's growth on the field came after he was able to channel that confidence.
"He's just developed, you know, as a young man would in our program," Kelly said. "I think the mark of a strong program is that you're better at the end of your career than at the start of your career. ... He's sacrificed a lot to be where he is today."
His quarterback has taken notice of that sacrifice and rewarded him for it. Ian Book has thrown the ball to Claypool more than any other Irish receiver this season. Book says Claypool has earned the targets.
"He's taken the next step Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in practice," Book said. "Not only going out there and working hard every day but being a leader every day. It has excelled his game a ton. "
Now, in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium Saturday afternoon, Claypool hopes he can soak it all in as he puts a bow on his college career.
"It's been a wild ride, for sure," Claypool said. "I've enjoyed every memory I have made in South Bend, in that stadium and on the road trips with my teammates. It's surreal that time has flown so fast, but I am enjoying every second of it. "