Irish on top for Okeke

Three-star safety Ikenna Okeke returned to South Bend last weekend and now Notre Dame is the team to beat in his recruitment.

Three-star safety Ikenna Okeke nearly committed to Notre Dame after a summer visit.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder from Smyrna, Tenn., returned to South Bend last weekend for his first official visit and is now even closer to ending the recruiting process.

“Right now, they’re definitely the school to beat right now for me,” Okeke said of Notre Dame. “I didn’t commit so I’m still looking around and I haven’t been on any other officials so I don’t have anything to compare it to right now, but they’re definitely on top.”

Okeke had previously considered Notre Dame and Stanford as his two favorites. That changed after Stanford landed a safety commitment and now Okeke has his sights on the Irish and Texas A&M.

“Definitely as of late, Texas A&M being in my ear, I want to check it out as soon as possible,” he said. “I’m thinking about trying to get up there on Halloween because I don’t want to stretch this out any longer and have a spot close up on me. Texas A&M is definitely one of the schools I want to check out. Stanford, they had a commitment and I know they’re still talking to me, but in comparison to Notre Dame, I might visit it still but Texas A&M is the school I really want to compare to Notre Dame.”

Okeke and his parents and brother Nick, a junior defensive back prospect, arrived in South Bend early Saturday and spent the day learning more about the Irish football program and university as a whole.

“Before the game they had stuff planned for us from like 11 all the way up to game time,” Okeke said. “We were walking around the facilities and talking to advisors, stuff like that.”

Notre Dame’s 41-31 win over rival USC was one of the highlights of his trip.

“This one was even better (than in the summer),” Okeke said. “I got to enjoy the game. Going into the visit I didn’t know USC was their rival. I think I chose the best game I could have. The crowd was crazy loud. The fan push-ups, I’ve never seen that before so that was cool.”

He spent the evening mingling with the Irish players and his host, Asmar Bilal.

“We were just chilling and he was showing me around,” Okeke said. “It was cool.”

On Sunday, he further developed the relationships with the Notre Dame staff.

“Sunday was pretty much grab breakfast and then I got to talk to pretty much every coach,” Okeke said. “I talked to the defensive coordinator, my position coach and then the recruiting coach and coach (Brian) Kelly. They were just telling me about my opportunity there. They have a need for DBs and I have an opportunity to make an impact early. They talked about the second-to-none academic opportunity.”


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