Now the Irish are back in town looking to gain some ground with safety prospect Hatari Byrd of Central High East.
"Notre Dame is showing a lot of interest," said Byrd. "As of right now they really haven't talked that much because I've not been able to talk a lot with them. I've spoken with Coach (Mike) Denbrock and he told me about all the things he likes about me and how he wants me to go there. But right now it's just the beginning of recruiting process."
Can the Irish expect to see Byrd on campus at some point during the next several months?
"I will be taking a visit to Notre Dame," he said. "It will be in the fall most likely and for an official visit."
With a friendship already built with Shepard, have the two compared notes about the Irish program?
"Right now it's kind of hard to keep in contact with him because he's real busy," explained Byrd. "But we're doing pretty well and we still communicate."
With the Irish being a great distance away from home, has Byrd thought much about how far he's willing to travel for college?
"I've not really thought about the distance," he said. "However, I'm open enough to experience life and take another adventure to another part of the world. South Bend is like another part of the world to me. If it fits my game and the way I am, it should work out pretty good for me."
Many west coast players follow Pac-12 programs, but Byrd has been keeping an eye on the Irish for some time.
"I like the way Notre Dame is very competitive each year," said Byrd. "I've watched them play USC and I really like their uniforms and the gold helmets. I've not really done a lot of research on them yet but I'm starting to. I've just been real busy taking a lot of tests like the ACT and all of that, and have not had time to do it."
When was the last time he had contact with Coach Denbrock?
"I talked with him Saturday on the phone when he offered me," Byrd said. "But we really couldn't talk too much on the phone as I was on my way to USC for a Junior Day."
On the field, Byrd feels he brings a good skill set. However, he also knows there is still work to be done.
"My strength is I love to hit and I can cover," said Byrd "I'm a smart player and can read things fast. My game is different than other safeties as I can cover more than other safeties can because usually safeties can hit but they can't cover. I'm more of a covering guy.
"I would say I need to work on not getting to the ball too fast and overrunning the play. I'm over aggressive I guess you could say."
How do the Irish stack up with the other offers on the table?
"I have seven offers right now," he said. "Only Notre Dame stands out right now. I've always followed what Notre Dame has done. I'm not saying I'm a big Notre Dame fan, but I've been watching since I was little."