Saturday’s visit to Notre Dame was nearly perfect for sophomore tight end Zack Kuntz.
The 6-foot-7 ½, 209-pounder from Camp Hill, Pa., loved what he saw on campus. What he heard from the coaches, especially head coach Brian Kelly, was even better.
Kelly offered Kuntz a scholarship.
“After coach Kelly talked to the team a coach came up to me after and said coach Kelly wanted to talk to me,” Kuntz said. “When I was talking to him it happened. I was completely shocked. I wasn't really expecting it especially after not having that much contact with them leading up to it. I was shocked to hear him say that.”
Kuntz had already landed scholarship offers from Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Duke and a host of others, but the one from Notre Dame stood out.
“I was overjoyed,” he said. “Words can't really describe the feeling when any school offers you a scholarship. You know they want you and you have potential and they want the best for you.”
Notre Dame’s coaching staff made it clear to Kuntz that they see him as the next in a long line of big play tight ends to suit up at Notre Dame.
“He knows I have a large frame and I'm only getting taller,” Kuntz said. “I am skinnier than most people would probably prefer right now but going into school he wanted me to be around, and coach (Scott) Booker talked about it too, they want me to be about 220 or 230 going into it just to get bigger and stronger and he said he could see me dominating at the next level.”
Booker spent about a half hour with Kuntz providing information on the football program, the 40-year decision factor and what he expects out of his tight ends.
“I actually got to spend about 30 minutes talking to him in his office just about what Notre Dame is all about and what Coach Booker is looking for in a player and what his coaching style is like,” Kuntz said.
Kuntz hasn’t trimmed his list yet but the Irish certainly stand a good chance of landing in his short list of favorites, but they won’t be without some stiff competition for his signature.
Penn State has pushed hard for Kuntz, whose brothers, Christian and Brandon, both played at the school.
“We have some family ties there but by all means that doesn't mean I'm tied just to that school or anything,” Kuntz said. “I remember a big process for my brothers so I'll make that decision when the time comes.”
Notre Dame compares favorably to the other schools Kuntz has seen.
“It's definitely special,” he said. “It's got great tradition. Some others schools have the flashy complexes and flashy rooms for the football team and things like that but it's hard to beat the tradition of Notre Dame.”
As a sophomore, Kuntz caught 49 passes for 793 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also recorded 113 tackles and four sacks from his defensive end position.