Notre Dame commits revel in victory on official visits
Jalen Guyton saw the Sunday morning activity listed on his Notre Dame official visit itinerary.
Breakfast at head coach Brian Kelly’s house sounded like a cool experience. He didn’t expect a lake and Jet Skis.
"I don't really go to lakes that much,” said the 2015 Notre Dame wide receiver commit. “I've been before, but I've never experienced a lake like that. There were Jet Skis and tubes and plenty of food. It was great.”
Guyton and the three other commits using their official visits – wide receiver C.J. Sanders, offensive lineman Tristen Hoge and safety Prentice McKinney – were invited out to Kelly’s lake house along with the three uncommitted 2015 targets – running back Soso Jamabo, defensive end Porter Gustin and linebacker Te’von Coney.
"I saw it on the itinerary, but I wasn't expecting anything like that,” Hoge said. “It was definitely so much fun.”
The time at Kelly’s house wasn’t the last item on the agenda – a Sunday night dinner at Ruth’s Chris, which Hoge called the best meal he’s ever had, was also part of the schedule. Guyton said he ate so much food on his visit that he was tired of chewing by the time he was headed home.
Those who arrived at Notre Dame on Saturday for their official visits were allowed to stay until Monday, per NCAA rules. The Irish staff made sure the excitement of Saturday night’s game didn’t wash away by the end of the visit. McKinney, who was watching his first game in Notre Dame Stadium, was blown away. His only other visit to Notre Dame came in April for the Blue-Gold Game.
“The game was crowded. It was packed,” McKinney said. “The fan base loved it. I loved it. Everything was perfect."
“They shut out Michigan and that was the first time they ever did that. So they made history Saturday."
It was an experience that Guyton wasn’t totally prepared for.
“I heard stories that it was going to be crazy and that it was going to be packed,” Guyton said. “There's nothing you can do to prepare for something like that other than going there and experiencing it yourself."
Saturday wasn’t Hoge’s first Notre Dame Stadium experience. It wasn’t even his first night game experience at Notre Dame.
"I went to the USC game (last year) and that was a pretty good game,” Hoge said. “There was a lot of atmosphere and a lot of energy. But this weekend, the emotion, the energy, the overall atmosphere was 10 times what the USC game was like. There was 85,000 in the stadium but then you had the thousands on the outside that are so pumped up for this game. It was huge. It was definitely a perfect official visit."
While the commits were enjoying their own official visits, they made sure to talk with the uncommitted prospects as well. The commits from Texas, Guyton and McKinney, spent time with fellow Lone Star State product Jamabo and his parents.
“I talked to Soso quite a bit,” Guyton said. “He lives kind of right down the street from me. Plano is right next to Allen and we always play them in our district. It was good seeing him up there and seeing a familiar face."
Hoge started hyping up Coney’s visit before he even arrived on campus. The two were on the same connecting flight into South Bend from Detroit. As someone who has been committed to Notre Dame since December, Hoge feels a responsibility to be an ambassador for the football program.
“They look to the commits. They want to know the truth of why we committed,” Hoge said. “Especially with me being committed so long, they're like, 'What's kept you here? You have opportunities to go elsewhere. Why did they keep you here?' I told them it’s days like these when they continually surprise me with the atmosphere. No two days are the same. Every game day is different. It keeps you on your toes and it keeps you anticipating the best."
From Hoge’s viewpoint, Notre Dame hit a homerun with the other recruits.
“I think they really took advantage of their officials,” Hoge said. “That was the best for them because they took a lot out of it. I think Notre Dame definitely left an impression on their recruiting."