Michael Young felt enveloped in Notre Dame from the moment he set foot on campus.
Brian Kelly and the coaching staff made sure of it as they came at the three-star receiver from Destrehan, La., from all angles. It wasn’t just Kelly or Young’s primary recruiter, running backs coach Autry Denson. Almost the whole staff checked in over the course of two days.
“It was great,” Young said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. Just me getting to see the facilities and the campus. The campus was beautiful. Then sitting down with coach Kelly and coach (Mike) Denbrock. I talked with my recruiting coach, coach Denson, and coach (Todd) Lyght. Once I came here it was like I can’t even explain it. It was just great. I got to talk to some of the coaches that didn’t even recruit me.”
Young made his first trip to Notre Dame alongside his mother and sister. They arrived a day ahead of Irish Invasion to get an introduction to campus and the program in general.
Not only did Young take tours, he met athletics director Jack Swarbrick and talked at length with academic advisor Adam Sargent. Young also talked with current players, including recently enrolled freshmen Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool.
Between coaches, players, administrators and support staff, Young took home a pretty clear picture of what the program is about.
“They’re real,” Young said. “I think that’s what I took the most from it. They’re real. They don’t promise me if I come here, ‘Hey, you’re gonna start as a sophomore.’ Or I would get playing time as a freshman. They promised me they would give me the opportunity to play if I come in and do what I have to do on and off the field. I think that they were real stuck with me even more. They want me, they want me bad. But they’re not gonna promise me.”
Perhaps the highlight of all those meetings was one-on-one time with Kelly, who offered a vision off the field.
“It was great because it wasn’t so much about football,” Young said. “It was about life. What can Notre Dame do for you? What could you take from this experience as a whole? Sitting down with him and being with other coaches, a lot of times the head coach is about football and my life. We touched on all that. The football, social life, interaction. He touched on that, which I think made me gravitate more toward him and the way he is and gravitate toward Notre Dame.”
Young soaked in all those messages before the camp portion of Irish Invasion got going Saturday night. Although he couldn’t participate thanks to a broken finger, Young watched the competition and how the coaches worked with prospects.
All in all, camp proved a fitting cap to the visit.
“I plan on making a decision in late July or early August,” Young said. “Right before the season. This visit definitely got into my mind a little bit. Notre Dame will obviously always be in my top (group) just because of the love they showed and especially because of the visit now. I’m thinking if I did come here I could fit very well.
“But as of now, I’ll just be narrowing it down. Who I like, who I don’t like.”
Young released a top 10 before the visit that included Oregon, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Arizona, Tulane, Minnesota and Virginia. He’s previously listed Notre Dame and Oregon as his top two. Texas A&M is also high up the list.
Oregon hosted the 5-foot-11, 178-pound prospect for its spring game in May. Young now plans to take it easy on visits while considering stops at Missouri and Virginia Tech down the road.
“I’ll lay low for a while,” Young said. “I’ve got to get that set up with the other coaches as well. I’ll lay low for a while and see when the opportunity presents itself. When I’m able to, I’ll talk to my parents, we’ll try to make those trips.”