OL target Andrew Thomas reviews 'eye-opening' Notre Dame visit

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Andrew Thomas needed only five words for an initial summary of his visit to Notre Dame’s junior day.

“It was very eye-opening,” Thomas said succinctly.

So eye-opening that the four-star offensive tackle from Atlanta’s Pace Academy plans to return in the fall for an Irish football game.

The 6-foot-4, 288-pound junior has been busy with unofficial visits this year. He’s already made trips to Auburn, Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. He plans to make return visits to Georgia and Clemson in the next week to watch both teams practice.

The contrast between those schools and Notre Dame was pretty clear to Thomas. He said Notre Dame reminded him more of Pace Academy.

“It’s kind of like my school. It's a small, high-academic school with good athletics,” Thomas said.

Thomas listed academics high on his list of priorities when considering his future. His parents will play a role as well. Thomas’ father joined him on the visit to Notre Dame.

“He liked the school a lot actually,” Thomas said. “And he liked talking to coach (Brian) Kelly."

Kelly’s recruiting pitch to Thomas was straightforward.

“He was saying that he wasn't trying to sell Notre Dame like he's selling a car,” Thomas said. “He's just showing me what they had to offer. If I like it, I have to make the choice for myself."

If Notre Dame’s going to land Thomas, it will likely need offensive line coach Harry Hiestand to seal the deal. He successfully recruits talented offensive linemen for the Irish with a high success rate. Thomas most certainly falls into the talented category.

247Sports slates Thomas as the No. 7 offensive tackle in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him No. 10 at the position.

"I've been talking to coach Hiestand a lot lately,” Thomas said. “He tells me how long he's been coaching and how his players say that he's not just trying to make them better football players but develop their character."

With a first impression made, the Irish should get another chance to gain ground with Thomas if he returns to a game this season.

"Just get a better feel for how the players like it,” Thomas said of what he wants to learn about the Irish. “The players are going to tell you exactly how it is. I just want to get out to a game and see the atmosphere for game day.”


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star Andrew Thomas hopes to make a return trip to Notre Dame following his junior day visit. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)