Johnson, Sanford strengthen bond

Hunter Johnson had already visited Notre Dame multiple times before the Irish Invasion. But Friday night let him work with Mike Sanford for the first time.

Hunter Johnson had already seen enough of Notre Dame to know what to expect before taking the field Friday night during the Irish Invasion. But the experience in South Bend still included a first for the in-state junior quarterback.

Johnson had never taken on-field instruction from offensive coordinator Mike Sanford before.

“I really enjoyed working with coach Sanford in the stadium last night,” Johnson said. “This was the first time camping at Notre Dame since Irish Invasion last year. I’ve obviously visited a bunch since then, but this was the first time I was coached by coach Sanford. He’s a great coach. Some of the quarterbacks at Notre Dame now were at camp and had nothing but good things to say about him.”

Following the two-hour event, Johnson and his parents engaged in conversation with Sanford on the field before receiving a late-night tour of campus.

“We drove around campus with coach Sanford in the golf cart and went down to the grotto, which at night was very cool,” Johnson said.  

Notre Dame’s top 2017 target at tight end, Brock Wright of Cypress, Texas, was also on hand for the Invasion. The top juniors spent time getting to know each other on and off the field.

“He’s a talented player,” Johnson said. “I connected with him on a couple of throws and then I got the chance to talk with him and his parents after camp as well.”

Friday’s visit also featured a one-on-one meeting between Johnson’s father and Brian Kelly.

Johnson also plans to visit Penn State, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Tennessee this summer.

A final decision is possible before the start of Johnson’s junior year.


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