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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Inside The Last Supper | BK's Final Act At Notre Dame

December 5, 2021

The good-byes weren’t awkward at the conclusion of Brian Kelly’s in-home visit with Tobias Merriweather‍ because only one person realized why they should have been.

“My guess is the plane ride to California wasn’t that fun,” Merriweather’s father, Dom, told Irish Sports Daily.

While Kelly was in the Washington receiver’s living room on Monday night with Tommy Rees and Del Alexander talking about their shared future in South Bend, social media was exploding with reports that Kelly was leaving Notre Dame for LSU.

But the Merriweathers weren’t checking their phones during the visit, leaving them in the dark.

While Kelly did step out to take a 15-minute phone call during the visit – “In retrospect, I think that phone call was the deal-sealer,” – Dom Merriweather is convinced Rees and Alexander were also in the dark.

“He was the only one in on the news from what I understand,” he said.

Outside of that phone call and a few too many glances at the phone, everything seemed in order. During the visit, Kelly even discussed his exit from Cincinnati to Notre Dame and blamed the media for how the news came out.

But when the contingent departed, “That’s when it really got crazy.”

It didn’t take long for the Merriweathers to catch up on what had Twitter abuzz.

“Literally, like within 90 seconds, Tobias comes down and says ‘Dad, look,’” Mr. Merriweather recalled.

Mr. Merriweather advised his son to text Alexander who was obviously still with Kelly on the way to the airport.

“Del responded, ‘Coach Kelly says that’s b*******,’” Mr. Merriweather said.

Obviously, Kelly’s response would eventually change.

“When (Alexander and Rees) first asked him about it, it was, ‘No,’” Mr. Merriweather remembered. “But by the time he got to the airport, it was, ‘Well, I guess I’m going to LSU.’

“It wasn’t, ‘Hey guys, I’m sorry.’ It was, ‘Well, it looks like I’m going to LSU.’ Like it’s a surprise…Like it was something he had no control over.”

Rees reached out immediately and repeatedly to apologize.

“‘I’m sorry the way that happened,’” Merriweather said of Rees’ messages. “‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’

“Like 10 times in three messages. I think it weighs on him the way it happened.”

Merriweather doesn’t believe Rees or Alexander owe any sort of apology.

“The disingenuousness of that whole encounter was like, ‘Wow! Welcome to big-time college football,’” Mr. Merriweather says.

“You’ve been talking to (LSU) the whole time you’re sitting at the table talking to Tobias.”

Rather than a ‘BS’ response, Mr. Merriweather would have rather had a ‘BS’ excuse beforehand.

“Just stay on the plane and say you’ve got a little cough or something,” he says.

“I would appreciate you not coming here and eating all my damn BBQ and walking out the door and 90 seconds later, you’re not even the head coach anymore.”

Mr. Merriweather understands coaches often leave one school for another.

“But not like licking your fingers from the BBQ we ate and as soon as you walk out the door, you’re on your way to LSU to eat gumbo,” he laughed.

“I could have made gumbo. My family is from Louisiana, I could have made him a good pot of gumbo if that’s what he wanted.”

Merriweather has no plans to decommit and obviously things have settled down since that frenzied Monday.

Notre Dame’s promotion of Marcus Freeman to head coach and the retention of Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator were positives for Merriweather and bringing back Alexander would be even better.

But it also showed the value of control.

“The reality is it hits you like, ‘Nope, I need to stay in control,’” Mr. Merriweather said. “‘As long as I have it, I need to keep it.’”

Merriweather intended to sign during next week’s early Signing Period and he may still, but that’s not certain.

“Once you sign, you’re a piece of meat, so you might as well keep control while you have it.”

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