Official Visit Primer

Three players are coming to campus for an official visit this weekend as Notre Dame hosts Michigan State. So, what does it mean? And what is the key point(s) for each visitor? breaks it down in a reader-friendly format.

The multi-official visit weekends are now underway at Notre Dame. A trio of prospects will be on campus as they make official visits to get a look at the school in a way they have never seen it.

It is built around the Michigan State game as the Irish look to rebound from an 0-2 start and build momentum.

To help you get primed for the visitors, takes a look at who is coming, and what are the most important aspects of the weekend regarding each prospect.

William Mahone

Position: Running back
School: Fitch High (Youngstown, Ohio)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 205 Position Rank: Four-star, 10th
Schools under consideration: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Michigan State Official visits made: This will be his first
Official visits on schedule: None are scheduled, but Mahone is toying with the idea of visiting Pittsburgh
What this visit means: Mahone didn't get a warm, fuzzy feeling during an unofficial to Penn State last week. So much so that he crossed the Nittany Lions off his list because he was, basically, ignored as a recruit.

He told Notre Dame was his leader entering the visit, and the biggest things he is looking for is how he gets along with the Irish players and his much-anticipated first face-to-face meeting with coach Brian Kelly.

Mahone said the chances were "slim" he would commit on the visit, but he didn't rule it out. Notre Dame has been looking for a big-bodied running back, and Mahone is that guy.

Consider this a make-or-break visit. If it doesn't go well (a rarity in recruiting), Mahone likely winds up at Pittsburgh. If it does go well, Notre Dame should have its big-bodied running back, be it Sunday or two weeks or a month from now.

Ronald Darby

Position: Cornerback
School: Oxon Hill High (Potomac, Md.)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 175 Position Rank: Five-star, 1st

Schools under consideration: Committed to Notre Dame, but looking at Florida Official visits made: This will be the first one
Official visits on schedule: Nothing set, but Florida could happen
What this visit means: Darby went from being 100 percent committed to talking to other schools, to now possibly taking an official visit to Florida. He remains committed to Notre Dame and a strong commit, but something must not be sitting right for him to keep speaking to other schools.

Some players are done with the recruiting process, and show it by telling inquiring schools why they aren't interested in talking much. This visit gives Notre Dame the opportunity to speak with Darby about his commitment, and an opportunity for him to be reminded what he loved about the program so much when he committed in April.

The official visit experience is always a huge factor in a player's recruitment, and can often be the trigger point. If Darby doesn't come away from this talking about being 100 percent committed to Notre Dame, it could turn out to be a stressful journey to signing day.

Nick Baratti

Position: Safety
School: Klein Oak High (Spring, Texas)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 190 Rank: Four-star, 11th (as an MLB)
Schools under consideration: Committed to Notre Dame
Official visits made: This is his first
Official visits on schedule: None
What this visit means: Baratti, who plays quarterback for Klein Oak, is solid to Notre Dame. That was taken care of when he made an unofficial visit in the summer, but this visit holds plenty of meaning.

Baratti will get a chance to see the environment he will play in, and more immediately, recruit other players. He arrives today, but Darby and Mahone will not be on campus until Saturday. That means Baratti has a day to build bonds with guys who can become staples of the 2012 class.

So, while part of this is a joy trip for Baratti, another part is work as he recruits the 2012 kids, and also builds bonds with some 2013 prospects who will be at the game. Top Stories