Last month the four-star receiver from Abbotsford, B.C., made the trek to campus for the Irish Invasion. He worked out for the staff at camp. But more importantly, Claypool spent a couple days hanging around with players and coaches.
That experience helped get Claypool to Friday, when he gave the Irish a verbal commitment during the final day of competition at The Opening.
Yet he still had few adjectives to describe his first look at campus.
“It was crazy,” said Claypool, who announced his choice by donning a Notre Dame visor on the ESPNU broadcast. “The campus was amazing. Facility, beautiful. It was really good.”
Claypool’s relationship with the Irish dates back to the spring when recruiting coordinator Mike Elston made the trek to Abbotsford to talk with coaches and teachers. Head coach Brian Kelly and associate head coach Mike Denbrock followed up by watching Claypool at Sound Mind, Sound Body camp outside Detroit in early June.
One week later Claypool hit campus for a two-day stay. He reconnected with Denbrock and forged early connections with players. Will Fuller served as de facto host.
“The fact that I got to stay there for basically two days,” Claypool said. “It gave me an idea of what it was like actually living there and I got to go to the players’ house and play some games and hang out with the players. I got to feel the family atmosphere.”
Claypool thought he might be destined for something altogether different not long before Elston established that initial connection.
His first scholarship offer came from Nevada in March. Rutgers followed that month. San Diego State, Utah, Rice and Oregon pulled the trigger in April. Notre Dame offered in May, pushing his total to 13.
Two months later the 6-foot-6, 214-pound prospect is done with recruiting.
“It’s surreal the fact that I thought I was gonna go to a Canadian university and have to pay for my education and stuff,” Claypool said. “The fact that I get it for free at Notre Dame, that’s kinda crazy.”
The group had a chance to connect during the week.
“Quite a bit,” Claypool said. “I was just in the locker room with one of them. We’re gonna follow each other on Twitter in a little bit. But the lineman, Parker Boudreaux, I talked to him a little bit a lunch. So yeah, quite a bit. I didn’t tell them where I was going.”
Once word starts to trickle out, Claypool expects to hear from more fellow commitments. Same goes for the support back home in Abbotsford.
“They’re just finding out that I’m going to Notre Dame,” Claypool said. “But they’ve been really supportive and really helpful, cheering me on and stuff. None of my friends are trying to bring me down or anything, they’re trying to help me get better.”