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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Top Priority 2024 LB Payton Pierce Previews Next Notre Dame Visit

February 27, 2023

Payton Pierce‍ has made multiple visits to South Bend since the Irish extended an offer to him in June of 2022. 

Now, with spring practices just around the corner, the 2024 Texas linebacker is planning another return to South Bend.

“We're going to be there for one of the weekend spring practices,” the Lovejoy High School standout says. “I think April 15th.”

Pierce wants to take this visit to see what an Irish practice looks like up close, as well as seeing how the incoming freshmen look in their first official practices with the team. 

“I've never watched practice,” the Texas linebacker tells ISD. “I'm going to get a good feel for the kind of guys that they brought in this year with their freshman class.”

The Irish staff has been able to show Pierce he is one of their top priorities. Marcus Freeman and the rest of the staff have consistently contacted the highly-touted linebacker recruit. 

“I talk daily with a lot of members of their staff,” the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder says. “I was on the phone with Coach Freeman (Monday), and I'm talking to them on a daily basis.

“I think it's pretty special having the head coach of Notre Dame calling you once a week. Then, Coach (Al) Golden reaches out to me every day.”

Golden and the rest of the defensive staff’s pitch to the the four-star recruit has maintained the same throughout the process.

“I'm a Notre Dame guy, and I fit what they want,” Pierce says regarding the message from the staff. “I'm their linebacker.”

The Irish, while having constant contact with Pierce, did lose a key member of their staff who had a great connection with Pierce, in graduate assistant James Laurinaitis, who recently accepted a GA role at his alma mater, Ohio State. 

“It definitely helps Ohio State's case a lot,” Pierce says. “He's one of my favorite linebacker coaches I talk to.

“But it doesn't really change much for Notre Dame. It's still Notre Dame.”

With the loss of Laurinitas, the Irish brought in former NFL linebacker Max Bullough as their new linebacker GA. Bullough has recently started consistently communicating with Pierce in his new role.

“They’ve got Max in now, and I'm starting to talk to him on a daily basis too,” Pierce says. “I haven't really got to meet him in person or really talk to him much…but I’m excited to meet him when I get the chance.”

Pierce is planning multiple visits in the spring, including Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. 

After the visits, Pierce should be ready to narrow his list. 

“Once I figure out all the schools and I'm done with this whole recruiting thing, I will have my official visits set up and then I'll make a decision this summer.”

Pierce isn’t sure if he’ll need all five of his officials, but he’ll use most of them.

“I know I'll take at least three.”

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