Chaz Ah You figured seeing Notre Dame in person would line up with the things he’d heard in advance of visiting.
Turns out it did and then some. Ah You, a four-star safety from Saratoga Springs, Utah, departed Junior Day feeling the Irish had actually exceeded expectations. The trip included adding a scholarship offer during a conversation with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght.
“Notre Dame is a very prestigious school,” Ah You said. “It’s nice to have them as an option. They offer everything that you really need. Great football, great atmosphere to grow. They offer great education, obviously. It’s a hard school to say no to.”
Ah You participated in Junior Day fully — academic presentations, player panel, campus tours and the like. But perhaps the highlight was watching practice, where he watched Lyght work.
Lyght is not only potential position coach but also area recruiter.
“I was actually watching coach Lyght the entire time,” Ah You said. “I was following him everywhere. Just wanted to see what he was kinda doing technique-wise and scheme-wise. It was nice to see how he did everything. He was a really cool coach, easy to connect with. I feel like me and him got along right from the beginning. It was really cool to finally put a face and meet him in person.”
Watching practice didn’t have just to do with scheme fit and position drills. Ah You watched how the players interacted with Lyght, head coach Brian Kelly and other members of the staff. What he noticed struck a chord.
“Everyone always talked about the tradition they have there,” Ah You said. “It’s a family bond going on over there. Just seeing that in person was really cool. The coaches and players really exemplified it a lot. You could tell the way they interact with each other they’re a family. They all have a common goal and a common purpose there. It was really cool to see that.”
Extending an offer pushed Notre Dame into a crowded field to land the 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect.
BYU, Cal, Duke, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin have also offered.
Notre Dame moved itself up the list and is in line to receive an official visit.
“They’re toward the top,” Ah You said. “They’re a really well-rounded school, so I know they would make me a well-rounded person.”
Ah You hopes to have a top group settled before the season begins with an eye toward taking official visits. Right now the West Coast programs have a good chance of making later cuts.
“A lot of West Coast schools are more toward the top right now,” Ah You said. “Like UCLA, Oregon, Stanford. Then Oklahoma State is up there and Michigan, Mississippi State and Notre Dame all have chances. Those are more toward the top for me right now.”