Nothing about the day tipped off Houston Griffith about what was coming.
Griffith, a sophomore cornerback from Chicago and Illinois legacy, already had his fair share of scholarship offers before Wednesday’s visit to Notre Dame. He knows the feeling when another one is on the way. But the Irish coaches didn’t reveal anything until that moment arrived for the 6-foot, 180-pound athlete.
Brian Kelly made the offer official in a meeting with Griffith and his family. Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder hadn’t dropped any hints.
“I had no clue,” Griffith said. “I was in awe, shocked. Just really excited about it. At first I met with coach Lyght and coach VanGorder. Then I sat down with coach Kelly in his office and he let me know.”
Notre Dame joins an offer list that already includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska and Virginia.
Before formally entering the mix, the Irish hosted Griffith and his family for a spring practice. The players went in full pads.
Lyght took center stage as potential position coach and primary recruiter.
“I really enjoyed it,” Griffith said. “Got a chance to come down with my family to practice. We got to see the team practice and coach Lyght work with the DBs a little bit. I can see the way he coached in the NFL, he brought to Notre Dame. Basically the philosophy he’s teaching and the way the players play.”
Afterwards, Griffith toured campus and the football facilities. One of the highlights was checking out the stadium, which is undergoing a large renovation.
“I saw a little presentation of what the stadium is gonna be like when it’s done,” Griffith said. “It looks pretty amazing. I got a chance to go in the stadium and see what’s happening.”
Griffith departed Notre Dame with several more visits planned. He’ll see Tennessee on Thursday and Alabama on Friday. Next week the plan is to make stops at Purdue, Penn State, Pitt, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio State.
There’s a long way to go before Griffith makes a commitment, but this period of unofficial visits will be an important step in that eventual direction.
“Basically it’s just building relationships with the coaches at each school,” Griffith said. “Just see what each school offers. Like a good academic program. What can the school do for me after college? Then football in general.”