Three times the four-star junior tight end from Arlington Heights, Ill., has visited campus this offseason. First, he stopped by during spring practice. He returned for the Irish Invasion in June to work out for the staff, earning a scholarship offer days later. Notre Dame hosted again Thursday in what could be his final visit before the season begins.
Kmet came to South Bend with his entire family, including his mother for the first time. Most of the focus turned to academics.
“They showed how they’re the No. 1 business school in America,” Kmet said. “How they have a 97-percent graduation rate. They said if you come here and work hard enough, you’re gonna graduate. That was some of the stuff they said to me.”
Pretty much the entire coaching staff touched base with the 6-foot-6, 240-pound prospect along the way. Tight ends coach Scott Booker served as primary host.
“Coach Booker was with me pretty much the whole day actually,” Kmet said. “He showed me around a lot of the time. I got to talk to him for most of the day. He talked about how he works with the tight ends and how they see me and Brock (Wright) going together, the tight end that’s already committed to Notre Dame. Then I got to talk to coach (Harry) Hiestand, coach (Mike) Denbrock and coach (Brian) Kelly.”
Wright, a four-star prospect from Cypress, Texas, committed shortly after the Irish Invasion. Booker and Denbrock have talked with Kmet at length about how both of them could line up together on future Saturdays.
Booker went in even more depth about that notion on this visit.
“They told me they see us coming in and when we’re both ready stepping in as double tight ends pretty much all the time,” Kmet said. “They see me as more of a lankier guy, more of a wide receiver-type tight end. They see Brock more as that in-line guy that can go out for passes and stuff. They think they can use both of us to our advantage.”
Kelly touched base before Kmet departed for home and kept the message mostly away from football.
“He just said he likes kids like me coming from a good family and a Catholic school,” Kmet said. “He thinks I’m a Notre Dame kid and I fit very well with the University.”
Notre Dame is trying to position itself as the best fit among Kmet’s other scholarship offers.
Baylor, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State and Toledo have also offered. Notre Dame and defending national champion Ohio State have moved to the top of the list this summer.
“They’re definitely at the top of the list,” Kmet said. “I’ve kinda been narrowing it down lately and Notre Dame is definitely at the top with what they have to offer for me. Really the two that are at the top right now for me are Ohio State and Notre Dame. And then the other two close ones are Iowa and Northwestern.”
Northwestern could get a visit before the season begins. St. Viator High begins practice for the upcoming season Aug. 10. Kmet is also looking into the possibility of visiting Notre Dame for its season opener against Texas.
He could very well be committed somewhere before then. Or the process could continue to move forward.
“I think I’m just gonna take it day-by-day,” Kmet said. “Whenever I feel like something is right, I’ll do it.”