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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2022 Holden Staes In Constant Communication with Notre Dame, Brian Kelly

March 2, 2021

The offseason hasn't kicked into full gear for 2022 Westminster (Ga.) tight end Holden Staes‍ just yet. 

Staes had to take some time to get his body healthy and hasn't been able to take recruiting visits due to the pandemic, but he's looking forward to getting back on the grind.

"It's been good," Staes told ISD. "I was a little banged up after my season ended from a few injuries that I had. Nothing too crazy, so I didn't need surgery or anything, but I had to take some time to heal up. 

"I'm excited to come out of that so I can get back on my training." 

The four-star prospect is itching to get his training started and his focus will be on improving as an athlete before his senior year.

"I want to increase my speed," stated Staes. "I always think that's one of the biggest areas of emphasis for me. I want to get in and out of my breaks better and more efficiently. I want to hone in on that as well as the strength component by getting in the weight room. 

"I'm looking to fine-tune my game as a whole to be the best player I can be." 

On the recruiting front, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder decommitted from Penn State on February 5th and started developing relationships with several programs. 

Notre Dame offered on February 10th and have been in consistent communication with Staes and his family ever since. 

"I've been talking with them almost every day," Staes said of Notre Dame. "There has been a lot of communication since the offer, so it's been pretty good. I've been doing a lot of Zooms. I'll do like two Zooms a week with Coach (John) McNulty and Coach (Tommy) Rees. I've got on the phone a little bit with Coach (Brian) Kelly and my parents. They've been coming hard after me since the offer." 

Kelly has not only been in communication, but he's impressed the Westminster star and his family. 

"I really enjoy talking to him and he's an easy-going guy," explained Staes. "He's kind of the same guy you see on TV. He's a nice guy to talk to. 

"He's a great coach and his reputation and record speaks for itself. His whole model of building champions and the proof he has behind that is really impressive and that's stood out to me the most." 

Staes is also well-aware of Notre Dame's tight end history and what a fellow Georgia native has done in South Bend.

"Seeing what Tommy Tremble did coming from Johns Creek and being successful in three years and declaring for the draft," said Staes. "That's super impressive and something that stands out to me—seeing the opportunity that presents itself, especially at the position. I've talked to all those guys about why they chose Notre Dame coming from Atlanta or Georgia and why they made that move." 

Notre Dame isn't the only school pushing hard for the Georgia native as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Texas are making Staes feel wanted.

Staes isn't in a rush and plans to take it day by day. 

"Right now, I'm talking to everybody and hopefully, when it opens up, I'll make my visits," Staes explained. "It's kind of easy to get a feel of the schools right now because all of the Zooms schools can set up for you. If you need to reach out to the players, they set that up easily for you. I've just been doing that, so when the visits open, I'll be able to get out to schools." 

Staes' decommittment from Penn State wasn't an impulse decision or one to gain more attention. 

It was an educated decision and the experience will help Staes in the future. 

"The values I committed on the first time are still holding solid for me and that kind of led to my decommittment from the previous school," said Staes. "A lot of the stuff I committed to was different once I made my decision to decommit. I definitely learned a lot from that process. I know there are things I can't bank on in terms of my decision.

"Learning the business side of the football process at this level is one thing I'm glad I learned at an early point of my recruiting. I know I won't make that mistake again from that experience. 

"The values I committed on are what the program is doing at my position, life after football, exposure, development, coaching staff all remain important to me. I'm just going from there and seeing what schools stand out to me the most." 

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