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Notre Dame Football

As recruiting reopens, Elston says: You have to come to our campus

April 15, 2021

Visits are coming. And Mike Elston's new-old job as Notre Dame's recruiting coordinator is both getting easier and vastly more compelling.

That's because the NCAA on Thursday formally set a reopening mark for recruiting activities on campuses – June 1.

For Elston, who earlier this year returned to his previous role as the Fighting Irish's recruiting coordinator, it's a chance to showcase Notre Dame's pristine campus and build off the virtual momentum the Irish have built in recent months on the digital recruiting trail.

"The June visits – we're obviously very excited to get young people on this campus, and their parents,” Elston told reporters Thursday during a Zoom press conference. “Notre Dame is a place Coach (Brian) Kelly has always felt you have to visit to understand.

“Let's face it, you can go to a lot of campuses in the SEC and you see one, you've seen quite a few of them. They are carbon copies of each other. Notre Dame is different.”

Elston, part of the Irish's unprecedented 'Pot of Gold' recruiting campaign last month and apparent overall more aggressive recruiting approach since the addition of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, doubled down on why it's critical for Notre Dame to get prospective student-athletes and their families onto the campus.

“You have to come to our campus and you have to see it,” Elston said. “We're encouraging the young players, underclassmen, to come early in June because the weekends will be very, very busy with official visits with our 2022 class.

"We have camps going at that time if we're allowed to have camps, which we're hoping we do. Camps during the week and then leaving our weekends available for official visitors. We've been scheduling visits unofficial and official to make sure people are buying plane tickets and reserving times to get up here on this campus. We're working non-stop at that."

Multiple college coaches told Irish Sports Daily that the return of on-campus football camps is widely expected to be a mere formality in approval; multiple college programs already are advertising their scheduled camps this summer.

Recruits also are active in scheduling their official visits at major, Power 5 programs throughout college football.

In addition to all those developments, Elston is continuing to settle into and return his stamp onto Notre Dame's recruiting identity after shifting roles with veteran assistant Brian Polian, also the Irish's special teams coordinator.

"Brian was really good at the evaluation part, so I learned a lot from that and it's been really fun,” he said. “Now, to come back and help implement a little bit more of the creative side and lean on the things Brian put into place in evaluation and for me, to work with the recruiting office like the 'Pot of Gold' day. Different things we have planned coming up even (Thursday) with some things that will be pushed out – some presentations we're doing with recruits and their families.

"I was excited to get back into it and build on what Brian had done with evaluation and even a lot of the presentations he had done.”

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