Onwualu Recaps Kelly's Visit

Cretin Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) four-star receiver and Notre Dame commit James Onwualu had his in-home visit with Irish coach Brian Kelly, and he spoke about it with IrishEyes.com.

As James Onwualu walked around Cretin Derham High (St. Paul, Minn.) with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly earlier this week, it was the way his future coach responded to all the congratulations that really caught his eye.

The Irish may be the top-ranked team in the nation and in line to play in their first BCS championship game, but Kelly isn't talking as if that is good enough.

"A lot of people we saw at school congratulate him on how the season is going," Onwualu said. "What he was saying is ‘We have one more to win or else it all doesn't matter.' The goal is to win the national championship, not to get to it. So I definitely agree and appreciate his answer."

Onwualu said walking around his school was also a big deal, but he acknowledged he was a little nervous because of how Notre Dame is viewed at Cretin Derham.

"I've been able to be around him enough that I feel pretty comfortable with him, but I was a little bit nervous about how everybody else was going to react there," Onwualu said. "Our school is pretty heavily into Notre Dame, and everybody ended up being really excited. It all worked out well."

Kelly and Onwualu were joined by Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, but the day was more about hanging out with familiar people rather than recruiting.

After spending time the school, they went back to Onwualu's home for dinner, which included baked chicken and cheese potatoes.

"It was no different than a normal family thing," Onwualu said. "We really just sat around and talked about normal things. It wasn't a recruiting visit. It wasn't like that. It felt more like I was just hanging out."

Among the topics to be discussed, though, was Notre Dame's ranking.

And having the feeling of the Irish as the lone unbeaten team and ranked No. 1 is accentuated by the fact many of the players committed to Notre Dame before the season began.

"It's definitely special," Onwualu said. "I was actually talking to coach Kelly about that, and a lot of our commits were actually committed before the season even really got going, and we all felt really good about how we thought Notre Dame was, and how we felt about Notre Dame. And now that they're winning, it brings the emotions to a whole other level."

There were a few discussions about how Onwualu will fit onto the roster, and for now it will be on offense. More will be settled in the spring, though, because he enrolls in January and will take part in spring practice.

"It looks like I'll be starting off as an outside receiver, but they are open to me playing anywhere I can help," he said. "I played running back, all the different receiver (positions), safety. I think it will be more clear when I get campus, but I think I'm starting out as a receiver."

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