Each trip has made Taylor more confident in his choice to continue his education and athletic career in South Bend.
“The first time we went after he committed was for Irish Invasion. I asked him and I kind of felt the same thing, but it was like coming home for him,” said Kevin Taylor, Elijah’s father. “Each time we come it’s a little more comfortable and the drive gets a little easier even though it’s no less time but it feels light and feels natural. We’re excited about this next chapter in his life as far as being at Notre Dame. Every time we go there it feels better to us.”
Taylor and his parents arrived in South Bend on Friday to begin his official visit.
The first day was spent meeting with academic personnel and members of the Notre Dame admissions staff. They spent Saturday at the Irish basketball game and also getting to know the coaching staff and several current players and visiting prospects.
“We had the basketball game (on Saturday), which was great, and then on Friday we talked to academic support services. We had already seen their presentation,” Kevin Taylor said. “Elijah had a meeting with admissions and we talked to them and what it’s like socially and academically at Notre Dame. It’s a tough school but they’ll do everything they can to help students be successful. That was nice from a parent’s point of view to hear those things about the support structure and systems they have set up.”
One highlight of the trip for Kevin Taylor was watching some of Notre Dame’s Florida recruiting targets react to seeing snow for the first time, including four-star running back Dexter Williams. He also found it interesting how the Irish recruiting targets quickly became friends.
“It’s kind of funny, the kids from Florida hadn’t seen snow before and us being from the Midwest, we got to enjoy some fun with them in the snow,” he said. “I think they did really well interacting. It’s kind of funny when you get around the kids at Notre Dame or the kids they’re recruiting there. They’re similar. Some of them are not standoffish but they’re not really loud and boisterous kids so it takes a minute, but once they get together and are around each other they figure out they have a lot in common. I think that went really well.”
Kevin Taylor and his wife, along with the parents of Irish safety commitment Mykelti Williams, spent plenty of time getting to know each other. They also shared their feelings toward Notre Dame with the mother of Irish recruiting target Ke’shawn Vaughn.
“We spent a lot of time with Mykelti’s mom and dad. His dad had to leave early but we spent a lot of time with them and plan on keeping in touch,” Kevin Taylor said. “Ke’shawn, his little sister was a hoot and his mom is too. She was a quiet lady but she was engaging. We were trying to, I shouldn’t say work on them, but letting them know from our standpoint as Elijah and Mykelti being commits, our standpoint being parents and what we enjoyed as Notre Dame.”
The Taylors also spent quality time with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. The time with VanGorder was especially important since he wasn’t actively involved in Taylor’s recruitment.
“We talked with them before, not VanGorder as much since he just came last year so he wasn’t around for the very beginning when Elijah started going so it’s always great spending time with him,” Kevin Taylor said. “The coaching staff is great and very open to questions and no question is too hard for them to answer. The good thing is if they don’t have an answer they’ll go find it for you. Time and time again if you had a question they found out by the next time we had a meeting together.”
The Irish coaches made it clear that Taylor has the opportunity to play as a freshman.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that they’ve wanted depth,” Kevin Taylor said. “It helps a lot that Sheldon (Day) is coming back. We’re very excited that he’s coming back so Elijah can learn from somebody. I think the expectation is to come in shape ready to compete and there is a strong possibility that you will see time. If he comes in with that mindset and takes care of what he has to do physically to get ready to be a college football player they’re fully expecting for him to contribute.”
Scout.com ranks Elijah Taylor as the No. 20 defensive tackle in the country and the top player in the state of Ohio.