Commitment crossed safety target Ikenna Okeke's mind

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

No matter how strong of a pull Ikenna Okeke felt toward Notre Dame, he wanted to stay patient.

Yet the three-star safety recruit admitted thoughts of ending his recruitment existed while on Notre Dame's campus this weekend.

“Going into the visit, Notre Dame was on the top of my list as one of the top schools,” Okeke said. “Committing was always a possibility, but I knew I wanted to see one more school before I was ready to make that choice.”

So Okeke left South Bend on Saturday high on the Irish but with an eye on Stanford. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect from Smyrna, Tenn., will look to visit Stanford in the next couple months to help settle his mind.

The reputation of Notre Dame gave Okeke lofty expectations heading into the visit, but the Irish managed to live up to them.

“I could really see the tradition they were talking about,” Okeke said. “That was my first impression. That’s the main thing that stuck out to me. Everything else was up to par too.”

The Irish Invasion event drew Okeke to Notre Dame, but he did not compete in the camp itself. Instead he watched a pair of his teammates participate. One of them was his younger brother Nick, a 2017 defensive back.

“It was good to bring him along with me to see if he was onboard with it,” Okeke said. “I know he enjoyed the visit, so it’s cool to let him experience something like this too.”

Okeke could be one of the answers for Notre Dame’s need for secondary help in the 2016 class. The Irish have commitments from safety Jalen Elliott and cornerback Julian Love and are looking for several more defensive backs. Rivals ranks Okeke as the No. 33 safety in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him 38th at the position.

The Irish coaching staff, which will likely settle on bringing in three safeties, pitched Okeke the opportunity to play early in his career and play nickelback in addition to safety. After meeting with head coach Brian Kelly for the first time, Okeke has plenty to ponder.

Recruiting coordinator Mike Elston will keep in touch with Okeke to keep the Irish in a favorable position.

“I talk to him pretty much every day so it’s a great relationship,” Okeke said.

Below are Okeke's junior highlights via Hudl.

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Safety target Ikenna Okeke said a commitment to Notre Dame was "a possibility" this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)