Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Recruiting Week In Review

May 31, 2020

Written by Joe Bradshaw

By all accounts, the Class of 2021 prospects have been remarkably patient with the recruiting restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak.  And now, they’ve been forced to be more patient.  The NCAA extended the recruiting dead period to the end of June.  Of course patience only goes so far, especially in the mind of a teenager, so recruits are starting to make visit plans, some even going so far as to walk around empty campuses.  Recently Irish Sports Daily reported on two young men who are doing their best to make plans, even see campuses in the face of the pandemic.  What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

Tristan Bounds‍, OL, 6-8, 300, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT decided that virtual tours and Zoom meetings just weren’t enough for him to make an informed decision.  He and his family decided to organize their own campus visits and Notre Dame was one of their two destinations.

“We just walked around the campus,” Bounds said.  “There’s not really anything we can do because it’s a dead period, so everything is closed.

Notre Dame just recently joined several other schools in offering the three-star prospect and immediately made it onto his top eight list.  The others on the list are Boston College, Michigan, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt.  Even without being able to go into buildings or meet with any of the staff, Bounds still came away with a favorable impression of Notre Dame.

“It was beautiful,” he shared.  “All of the buildings look the same, which is really cool.  The Grotto was really cool.  What really stood out was how gorgeous the campus was.”

The coaching staff was able to provide Bounds with a map of the university along with some key spots highlighted.

“The Golden Dome, the Grotto and the football facilities and the Mendoza Building because I want to study business,” he said of the campus features highlighted by the coaching staff.  “Obviously, we couldn’t get in it, but from the outside.”

Bounds went through the same routine in Ann Arbor the previous day.

“Campus was beautiful,” he said.  “It was like in the city of Ann Arbor.  I didn’t really know it was woven into it.  That was really cool to see.”

Bounds’ head coach, LJ Spinnato, recommended that his top senior prospects get out and see schools even before the lifting of the dead period, a suggestion taken by Bounds and his family.

“I just thought it would be a good idea for me to see some places on my list that I haven’t been to yet, even if it was in a different way than I’ve seen the other places, just to be more familiar so that I can make a more informed decision,” Bounds explained.

He’s interested in returning to South Bend and Ann Arbor but doesn’t believe that it’s absolutely necessary prior to making a decision.

“If things open up like right now, of course I’m going to go back,” Bounds said.  “Those are both places I would have taken official visits if I could have in June.  If it opens up in July, I’ll do that if I haven’t made a decision by then.  I feel like I definitely saw the campuses.  The coaches have been great about Zoom and virtual visits and things like that.  I feel pretty comfortable with both of those schools even though I wasn’t able to take a true official or unofficial visit.”

When Irish Defensive Coordinator Clark Lea offered Kaleb Edwards‍, S, 6-0, 190, Dacula High School, Dacula, GA a scholarship, he was understandably excited.  However, Edwards’ feelings went beyond mere excitement.

“I was ecstatic,” Edwards said.  “Notre Dame is one of those schools I’ve been looking at, so when they offered me I was pretty shocked.  I was blown away.  It was a true blessing.”

Edwards’ offer sheet isn’t lacking anything in numbers and star power.  In addition to the Irish he currently holds scholarship offers from Stanford, Duke, Michigan State, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Harvard, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Syracuse, West Virginia and others.  A cursory glance at some of the schools that have offered the three-star defensive back gives a hint at why he was so excited about Notre Dame’s offer.

“The academics,” he said.  “Being great in football.  They play a very tough schedule and they win consistently just about every year.”

Lea gave Edwards a clear picture of Notre Dame, its mission and its values.

“He was talking about how they were a good Christian school, Catholic school,” Edwards remembered.  “Their football program is built on faith and family.  Of course he talked about the academic part, the kids they have in programs.  As a player I fit their system, I fit what they’re trying to build there.  They’re trying to get back to the National Championship.”

While Edwards could play multiple positions for the Irish, they like him at defensive back, specifically safety.  Lea did suggest that he could even play some offense. 

In their conversations, Lea made a strong impression on the Georgia star.
“He was a great guy,” Edwards said.  “He really wants to get to know me as a person.  He takes pride in what he does.  Overall he loves the game and loves to mentor and coach athletes.”

Edwards still remains hopeful of making a decision before the beginning of his senior season, even with the extension of the dead period until the end of June.  Once things open, though, he’ll need to be a very busy young man.  South Bend is one of the places he hopes to see.

“I’d like to see the campus and maybe get out to the city,” he said.  “I’ve never been to South Bend.  I’d like to get to know some of the people around there, some of the players, let them tell me how it really is there.  Is it worthwhile?”

Edwards has a short list of two factors in his final decision.

“I’d say faith and relationships.”

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