Versatile Nicky Baratti ‘grateful’ for time on campus
Brenna Moxley | Thursday, November 12, 2015
Senior safety Nicky Baratti first visited Notre Dame with his dad during his junior year of high school and “fell in love with it.” He visited again that same year for the spring game, and that’s when he decided to make his verbal commitment to Notre Dame. He had scholarship offers from 12 other Division I schools but said he did not really consider going anywhere else.
From Tomball, Texas, Baratti attended Klein Oak High School, where he played up to five different positions in a game — quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end and safety. He is the son of Clarke and Jill Baratti. Baratti is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, majoring in management consulting.
Baratti reflected on the difficulty of adjusting to college life while also balancing academics and playing a sport.
“I was prepared physically, but not mentally,” he said.
Baratti explained “school was hard,” and at first, he struggled with the transitions between football camp, season and off-season. He added that after his first injury, it was a tough shift from playing a sport and going to school, to simply watching a sport and going to school.
However, he clarified that now he has adjusted to balancing the two and is “really good at it.”
Baratti experienced shoulder injuries that kept him off the field for his entire sophomore season and most of his junior year.
“It made me see the bigger picture,” he said. “You come in thinking that you’re going to play all four years. Once you continue to get knocked down, it gives you a bigger perspective on life. Life is more than just a game.”
Baratti became the first Irish freshman in four seasons to record an interception when he picked off former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in 2012.
“I really enjoyed that moment here against Michigan, our rival. It was a cool feeling,” he said.
However, Baratti said he didn’t want one play to define his time at Notre Dame.
“I did great my freshman year and I played a lot, but I don’t want that to state who I was here as a player,” Baratti said. “I have been trying to make big plays as I get older.”
When he did get on the field his junior year, Baratti made an impact, recovering a fumble in last year’s season-opening win over Rice.
But Baratti said his favorite memory wasn’t either of those plays — rather, it was one focused on a team accomplishment.
“When we beat Southern Cal at Southern Cal my freshman year,” he said. “That was our ticket into the [BCS] National Championship. The atmosphere was so cool, we were just so happy, we were so hyped that we finally did it.”
Baratti said he has multiple close friends on the team, particularly a few players outside his own class.
“I’m pretty close with [junior linebacker] James Onwualu,” he said. “He came in early, and we hung out together. I helped him when he first got here, and we just connected.”
Baratti said he decided to enroll in the Mendoza College of Business because when he committed, he knew Notre Dame had the top-ranked business school in the nation, and he felt like he had to take advantage of the program.
“Both of my parents have been in business their whole lives, and there’s so much you can do with a business degree,” Baratti said.
However, Baratti said his future post-graduation isn’t as definite.
“Oh man, I don’t know. Probably find a job,” he said.
However, there’s another option on the table, as he is eligible to play a fifth year.
“Deciding whether I will be playing a fifth year or not would be the first thing to do,” he said. “Time will tell toward the end of the season.”
Baratti said he’s thankful of the chance he had to compete at Notre Dame.
“I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to come here,” Baratti said. “Although it hasn’t been what I dreamed of playing-wise, it has been a great experience. It has made me grow up so much and become a man.
“I could not be more grateful for that, or for this University.”