Harrell Ready For Next Chapter

After a long weekend, Mark Harrell spoke with Irisheyes.com about his official on the campus of Notre Dame and the lasting impressions it had on him.

This past weekend Notre Dame pledge Mark Harrell made a return to campus for his official visit. Accompanied on the trip by his parents, Harrell came away even more impressed with his future home and ready to start the next chapter in his life.

"We got back yesterday and I kind of hit the sack early," Harrell said with a laugh. "It was great, a real great time as I got a chance to bond with a lot of my future teammates and spend a lot of time with them.

"I was hosted by Matthias Farley who did a great job of showing me a great time. I also finally got to meet a lot of nice people and great kids. I have a real good feeling about all of it after my visit."

With the days counting down until National Signing Day, Harrell plans to officially become a member of the Irish Class of 2012 at his high school.

"I'll sign at my school as we'll probably do an event during our 20-minute break period," Harrell explained. "It will be a great time as I'll be able to sign in front of my friends and family and the people who have been with me from the start of the whole process. So I'm really looking forward to it and looking forward to signing this letter and getting it all done."

While Farley did his job of showing Harrell the ins and outs of campus, it was the time spent with other members of the team that made Harrell even more excited to get things started.

"I spent some time with Sheldon Day and Tee Shepard. I also hung out with Austin Collinsworth, Tate Nichols, Christian Lombard and Alex Welch."

What activities did Harrell enjoy most during his stay?

"Friday night we had dinner at Ruth's Chris," Harrell continued. "Coach Kelly was not able to be there as I think he was on the road, however, all the assistant coaches were there. Coach Kelly met with us on Saturday and then we went to the basketball game and watched Notre Dame upset Syracuse.

"We also went to the hockey game. I've never been to a college hockey game and it was real cool to see the fan support for all the sports and not just football.

"It was a really cool thing to see and shows that Notre Dame takes their athletics very seriously and it's not just football that is successful. I also saw the fencing national championships too. There is not a sport Notre Dame does not excel in. It was also great to get a chance to meet a lot of the other athletes and they all seemed like great people too."

Key Introduction

The weekend allowed Harrell to get caught up with all the changes on the Irish staff as he met with a couple of key members.

"I spent a lot of time with Coach (Mike) Elston who is my recruiting coordinator," Harrell continued. "I also got a chance to spend a lot of time with Coach (Chuck) Martin. I've not really talked too much with him before now as he was on the defensive side of the ball. But now that he's the new offensive coordinator I had a nice long meeting with him.

"It was a great time and my parents and I left the meeting very impressed and optimistic about the whole situation with him as the offensive coordinator. He seems like a real good guy and is very passionate so we felt really good about it."

With his journey almost complete, Harrell knows his official visit cleared any and all fears in regards to his decision.

"It's been a crazy journey," he said. "(But) not as crazy as most of these kids I have been reading about. I felt from the start I made the right decision and never wavered on that at all. I was just real happy to take this visit and have such a great time while reassuring myself this was the right decision for me and this was the right place for me.

"The past year has been fun but it's also been stressful and I'm kind of glad to be wrapping it up and starting school in June. The whole recruiting deal was a great time, but it can't last forever and I'm ready to move on."


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories