Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Looking To Steal Another WR From The Buckeye State

February 2, 2020

2022 Westerville South (Ohio) receiver Kaden Saunders‍ was impressed by Notre Dame on his previous visits, but this time was different. 

The speedy receiver left campus on Saturday with an offer from Notre Dame and it's one he coveted.  

"It's big for me," stated Saunders.  "It's such a great school with great tradition. The academics are top-notch and they produce good football players. They always have a great schedule. It's just a great offer." 

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly made sure to spend time with Saunders and his family during the Junior Day visit.

Kelly also personally offered the Ohio native. 

"We were talking about how I was as a student-athlete, my family and how my little sister runs track," explained Saunders. "We talked about how great of a person he thought I was and he said he'd like to offer me a scholarship to play at Notre Dame." 

While the offer from Notre Dame might not have been a huge surprise, the moment was still extremely special for the Saunders family. 

"My dad and uncle were just smiling," laughed Saunders. "They were proud of me and happy for me. My dad's very proud and he raised me right." 

Irish Sports Daily
Brian Kelly and 2022 WR Kaden Saunders

Saunders has plenty of time to make a decision as the calendar just flipped to 2020 a month ago; however, he admitted he started to like Notre Dame more and more over the course of the day.

In fact, Saunders was the most impressed with a moment that didn't include football. 

"The more the visit went on, I started to like it a lot more," said Saunders. "When we got to the academic meeting, he (Adam Sargent) was laying down the cold hard truth and that got to me a lot. Normally on visits, everyone is trying to sell themselves, but he was keeping it real. He was telling the truth about everything. 

"I'm going to come back for camp this summer to work with Coach (Del) Alexander to see how I like getting coached by him." 

Alexander had made a few trips to check on Saunders and it was no surprise he signed off on the early offer.

"We were together the whole day," Saunders stated. "I was the only receiver here today.

"He said it was still early and he's always hesitant about offering young guys. He knew I was a great player and a great kid from my grades and how people around me view me. He said it was an easy choice to offer me a scholarship." 

Saunders also has a Notre Dame connection back home in Central Ohio. 

2021 Notre Dame receiver commit Lorenzo Styles Jr.‍ lives about 20 minutes down the road and the two have become good friends over the last few years. 

"We were already talking today," Saunders laughed. "I'm expecting him to come for me pretty hard." 

Styles has been recruiting key targets in 2021 and will make sure to let his friend know all about Notre Dame. 

"Kaden and I developed a relationship through football," Styles stated. "Young guy showing a lot of skill right now and has so much more potential. I'm going to get some work with him this summer and hopefully, he finds his way to Notre Dame." 

As for his recruitment, Saunders is taking things day by day. 

He does have somewhat of a top group, but he'll also earn several more offers in the coming months. 

"There are a couple at the top for me right now," Saunders explained. 
"Penn State is still up there, but I have to meet the new receiver coach. West Virginia is up there. Indiana, I like Coach (Tom) Allen and Coach (Greg) Heard a lot. 

"And then today, Coach Alexander and Coach Kelly made a great impression." 

Notre Dame has already proven they can take a top player from Central Ohio with Styles, but could they do the same with Saunders?

We'll see over the next few years, but Saunders is more than open to leaving the Buckeye State. 

"I'm very open," said Saunders. "My true passion is at wide receiver. Ohio State wanted me at defensive back, but with Coach (Jeff) Hafley gone, I don't know if still do or not.

"I'm definitely open to leaving the state." 

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