Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Commit Aidan Keanaaina Goes In-Depth On Official Visit

April 7, 2019

2020 J.K. Mullen (Colo.) defensive tackle Aidan Keanaaina committed to Notre Dame in February and made his return to South Bend for an official visit over the weekend. 

The four-star prospect worked hard on fellow 2020 defensive linemen Braiden McGregor‍ and Rylie Mills‍, but 2020 four-star receiver Jordan Johnson‍ stole the show on Saturday night as he committed to Notre Dame. 

“I thought it was unexpected,” Keanaaina told Irish Sports Daily. “I knew he was having a great time, but I was so happy when I heard it. I told him ‘Welcome to the family and you made a great decision.’ It’s just great. He’s a very genuine guy and a great athlete. I’m very happy he chose such a great place.” 

In fact, Johnson’s commitment happened right next to the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder at Brian Kelly’s lake house. 

“He was right behind me when he was talking,” stated Keanaaina. “He said ‘I’m committing.’ The coaches started screaming and everyone got excited at the lake house. It was great.” 

As for his visit, Keanaaina couldn’t be happier with his decision and the return to South Bend only solidified his already firm pledge to the Irish. 

“It was good and I really enjoyed it,” said Keanaaina. “I had a great trip. 

“When they asked me what I thought of the visit, I felt my favorite thing about coming back was reminding myself why I chose this place and how much I loved it.” 

Keanaaina admits he might have gained 10 pounds as Notre Dame made a point to feed him non-stop, but as much as he enjoyed the food, the Colorado native enjoyed spending time with his future teammates and coaches more. 

“It was amazing,” Keanaaina stated. “They had games and great food. To see Coach Kelly’s house and get around his family a little bit was really nice. He has a great household and a great atmosphere out there. All the coaches came out and I got to see some of the players again. 

“I saw my shadow in Myron (Tagovailoa-Amosa) again. It was a really fun night.” 

The chance to be around current members of Notre Dame’s defensive line meant a lot to Keanaaina and he saw they want and work towards the same goals he wants to achieve. 

“It was fantastic to talk to Kurt (Hinish) and Myron, two of the inside guys, along with Jacob Lacey,” Keanaaina explained. “They are great people and hard workers. I’m happy with my choice to surround myself with those people and what they want to do in life.” 

Keanaaina also was at practice on Saturday morning and got a chance to see Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston coach up his defensive line. 

“I love it,” Keanaaina stated. “He’s loving and serious when he needs to be. I could see him out there getting emotional, but then he got very serious. That’s what you need from a coach to show you have tough it is and to show you some tough love.” 

With his return to campus, Keanaaina also put his recruiting hat on as McGregor and Mills were taking official visits. 

The three were almost inseparable during practice, but Keanaaina didn’t want to put pressure on them to commit. 

“They are amazing guys and quality athletes,” Keanaaina explained. “They have their head on straight, genuine and I’d love for them to be my teammates. I told them I’m not going to pester or pressure them because I was in the same position. I told them to enjoy it and do what they want to do. 

“If Notre Dame is the right feeling for them, then go right ahead and if not, then be happy somewhere else. This is a big decision for them and they should be happy with whatever they do.” 

Keanaaina admits he wanted all to be attached to the hip of McGregor and Mills this weekend, but he didn’t have to try as the relationships formed organically. 

“I would say consciously I wanted to get that going, but then again, we just hit it off,” stated Keanaaina. “We weren’t even talking about football. We started talking about family, friends, high school experience and we were talking as good friends. I really enjoyed that and it’s one thing that really showed. 

“I think it’s a great thing and I hope they come here. I told them that it’d be great to play next to them.” 

The J.K. Mullen star will now turn his focus to preparing for his senior season, but he also knows when he will be back in South Bend.  

“I’m probably going to come back for two games,” said Keanaaina. “I’m looking at getting to the Virginia Tech and the USC game. I’m not going to do any camps. I’m going to train with my team and enjoy my senior year before I have to get ready for the hard stuff.” 

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