Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Brian Kelly Made Strong Impression At Home Of Top 2021 WR Target

February 7, 2020

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made plenty of positive impressions on high school coaches across the country last month, including Mount St. Joseph head coach Rich Holzer.

Last week, Kelly visited the high school in Maryland, which is home to top 2021 wide receiver target Donte Thornton Jr.

“It’s awesome,” Holzer said. “Anytime you get one of the head coaches coming by, it’s great. Specifically with Coach Kelly, he’s had a long, storied career as a head football coach not just with Notre Dame, but Cincinnati and Central Michigan all of the way back to Grand Valley State. 

“Personally, as a coach, I’ve followed him and his offenses all of the way back to Grand Valley. It was something cool for me to get to meet Coach and talk to him.”

Not only has Holzer followed Kelly for a while, he’s followed the Irish as well.

“I really appreciated it as a lifelong Notre Dame fan, which drove my dad nuts because he played at Penn State for Coach (Joe) Paterno,” Holzer laughed. “He was never happy about that.”

Holzer called Kelly’s presentation “great.” 

“He’s very personable, very approachable,” said Holzer. “You never what you’re going to get with major Division-I head coaches, but it was like just talking to somebody else at the school. He made it very comfortable, made it more about Dont’e than Coach Kelly. You see that from certain coaches and I think it says a lot about Coach as a person.”

We’ll have much more on Thornton soon, but the 6-foot-5, 180-pounder is definitely seriously looking at the Irish. Holzer said Thornton is a unique prospect given that he’s almost a 4.0-student who is looking at the long game and how recruiting can benefit down the road.

He visited South Bend as a youngster and is likely to return in the coming months. 

It’s unlikely Thornton makes a final decision before the fall.

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