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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Elite 2023 ATH Sonny Styles Recaps Notre Dame Visit

June 12, 2021

It was a busy weekend for the Notre Dame staff as nine 2022 prospects made their way to South Bend and a host of 2023 prospects. 

Pickerington Central (Ohio) athlete Sonny Styles‍ was one of those 2023 recruits on campus and the Irish staff made sure to carve out plenty of time for the composite five-star. 

"I enjoyed actually getting to see the campus," Styles told ISD. "I had never really seen the campus. I had seen a few spots, but seeing the whole campus was awesome. Everything about the campus is beautiful. 

"It was good to see Coach (Marcus) Freeman and I sat down with Coach (Mike) Elston and, of course, Coach (Brian) Kelly. It was nice to talk to all of them in person." 

The 6-foot-4, 208-pounder isn't a stranger to Notre Dame as he learned about the school through his brother's recruitment, but Saturday was Styles' first in-depth look at the program. 

And Styles was impressed with just about everything he experienced. 

"Something that stuck with me was Coach Elston talking about the national coverage Notre Dame has and I never realized it," explained Styles. "He talked about when they played Clemson and I think it was 15 million people were watching at one point. The National Championship was 18 million. That's crazy. 

"We talked about the Name, Image and Likeness stuff too. Notre Dame's national coverage helps with that and they have the contract with NBC. People are going to be watching all over the country at all times. It was eye-opening." 

Freeman also made plenty of time for the Pickerington Central star as they had a lengthy conversation and watched some film.

"I have a good relationship with Coach Freeman and I'm looking forward to building on it," Styles stated. "We watched a little bit of film and talked about the Rover position.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how he's going to do at Notre Dame. He did well at Cincinnati and we have two good players from my school going there. 

"I'm just interested to see how he'll use the players he has at Notre Dame." 

The way Freeman plans to use Styles might be a little different than how Clark Lea used Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but the freedom to make plays will still be there. 

"He showed me more Cincinnati film," explained Styles. "He showed me how he lines them up. He called it 7 and 2 - two yards off tackle and seven yards off the ball. 

"You can start creeping like you're about to blitz the A-gap something and then run down and cover receivers running a deep post. He's going to do a lot of things and that's really what I want to do. I want to make a lot of plays all over the field." 

With two high school teammates headed off to Cincinnati, Styles is familiar with how the program has excelled in recent years. Yet, when Freeman showed him some numbers, it became all that more impressive for Styles.

"I thought what he did at Cincinnati was cool," said Styles. "The numbers from one year to next were crazy. I think they were 110th one year and the next year, they were 6th. It was crazy. I just can't wait to see what he does at Notre Dame. I know he's going to do great." 

Styles was also impressed with the overall message from the Notre Dame staff. The Irish can offer him the chance to play with his brother, but they also made it clear Lorenzo's career was separate from Styles' recruiting process. 

"The message from the whole coaching staff was that this is my recruitment," Styles said. "Of course, it's nice my brother is at Notre Dame, but that's not the reason I'd choose Notre Dame if I did.

"I think it's something I want to hear. It is my recruitment, but I'm not going to act like it wouldn't be nice to play with my brother." 

Saturday was also the first time Styles had the opportunity to talk with Kelly face-to-face. 

"This is was my first time getting to talk to him as a recruit," stated Styles. "The last time I talked to him was two years ago when Lorenzo committed. 

"His biggest message was that my brother might go to Notre Dame, but everything I've earned, I've earned it as an individual. They're going to recruit me like they have no idea who I am. It's definitely something I like to hear." 

The Ohio native will continue his June tour of schools as he'll visit North Carolina, Florida State, Ole Miss, Alabama, and LSU later this month. 

"I really just want to get out there and see as many schools as I can so I can be able to compare them," explained Styles. "You don't know what you like if you haven't seen that many places." 

As for a commitment, Styles doesn't have a date in mind other than it will likely come next summer.

"I don't really have a timeline," said Styles. "I definitely want to commit before my senior season starts to get it out of the way." 

Offers: Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Indiana, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Miami (OH), Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Toledo and West Virginia 

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