Beth Long

Kmet, Stepherson come up big

Junior tight end Cole Kmet returned to Notre Dame on Saturday for the first time as a commitment, Parker Boudreaux came back to campus and Kevin Stepherson went over 100 yards.

Cole Kmet experienced something different at Notre Dame this weekend.

The last time Kmet visited for a game, he’d been weighing his recruiting options. This time the four-star junior tight end arrived in South Bend committed. He didn’t need to compare Notre Dame to anything else after giving a verbal pledge last week.

“It was awesome just being greeted by all the coaches,” Kmet said. “The game day atmosphere was really what I expected. It was awesome. I was just able to go there relaxed. It’s such a relief just knowing that’s where I’m going.”

Kmet chose the Irish over Ohio State, where he had been scheduled to visit next week.

Instead, Kmet will return to Notre Dame for its primetime matchup against USC. He’ll now do some recruiting for his future program after not even thinking it would be possible to make a commitment so early in the process.

Kmet has already been in touch with fellow junior commitments Brock Wright, Josh Lugg and Dillan Gibbons.

“It was more of just a gut feeling knowing that Notre Dame was a really good place for me,” Kmet said. “I think a lot of it just fits me. It’s really close to home. It’s great academics, which is what I was looking for. It provides a great life after football. Obviously, how they’ve used their tight ends over the years has been amazing. I think it all just fell into place for me.”

Recruiting now over, Kmet turns his full attention back to the season, which hasn’t gone as planned.

St. Viator has struggled to a 1-6 record with a 33-13 loss to Marian Central Catholic last Friday. Kmet had four catches for 55 yards plus 10 tackles and four tackles-for-loss on defense in the defeat.

Playoffs already out of the question, Kmet still wants to finish the season strong and continue his development.

“I’ve been able to work on my route running and my blocking skills,” Kmet said. “I think if you looked at me from Game 1 until right now, I’ve improved drastically. The games have obviously helped. I’m just planning on after the season doing a lot of weightlifting again, getting back into that, speed and agility. Then over the summer going to Notre Dame camps so I can work with the coaches.”

Boudreaux Back On Campus

Offensive line commitment Parker Boudreaux made his second visit to campus this season. His first trip was an official visit for the Texas game.

“I’m getting more comfortable every time I’m there,” Boudreaux said. “The fans are so nice. Saturday was a great atmosphere. I have so much respect for Navy.”

Boudreaux spent time with Stanford defensive back commitment David Long, who was on an official visit.

“I hung out with David Long, the Stanford commit, at the game and at night,” Boudreaux said. “He loved it and he’s actually really thinking about Notre Dame hard.”

Boudreaux and Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore improved to a perfect 6-0 on the season after defeating Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter 34-14. Boudreaux registered eight “pancake" blocks.

“They had won their last 39 regular season games, so they were talking a lot of trash before the game,” Boudreaux said. “We came out super strong and beat them and it felt great.”

Stepherson Hits 100

Despite falling to Raines 24-15, wide receiver commitment Kevin Stepherson had four catches for 101 yards and one touchdown along with a 76-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

“The first catch was 14-yards on a comeback route,” Stepherson said. “The second one went for 24 on a curl. The third was a 56-yard bomb down the sideline. I beat my man on a go-route and scored. I like making plays, and that showed on special teams. I love making plays in the open field.”

Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast is 1-5 on the year.

“We aren’t playing up to team standards,” Stepherson said. “It’s the little things that we need to keep better at.”

Stepherson watched on TV as Notre Dame defeated Navy on Saturday. He heads to South Bend for his official visit this weekend.

“They impressed me like they always do,” Stepherson said. “I’m always watching the ND wide receivers to see what they do and try to learn from them.”


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