Jaylen Kelly-Powell didn’t need to visit Notre Dame again.
Few programs have hosted the four-star safety from Detroit more. Kelly-Powell made a stop in South Bend last month. Before that he visited for the Blue-Gold Game and a Junior Day. Coming by for Irish Invasion en route to Arkansas seemed like a good idea all the same.
Kelly-Powell caught up with the coaching staff plus a couple Detroit-area products already on the roster, defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Khalid Kareem.
“It was pretty good,” Kelly-Powell said. “We got to see coach (Keith) Gilmore and coach (Brian) Kelly, everybody. I saw Daelin and Khalid and some of the recruits they're also recruiting. There were kids hanging around a little bit and some in the camp. I watched some of the drills.”
Hayes and Kareem, both early enrollees, filled Kelly-Powell in on their time at Notre Dame so far. Kelly-Powell and four-star cornerback Ambry Thomas, another Detroit native that made the visit, liked seeing players from the same area having early success.
“It’s very important,” Kelly-Powell said. “It’s high academics and a great network, great football. They’re down there competing and it’s great to see guys from up here, guys from Michigan balling. They’re making a name for themselves. It’s great.”
These Irish visits have Kelly-Powell pretty comfortable with the program. He’s learned plenty about the defensive system, where he could fit into it and life off the field as well.
Gilmore serves as primary recruiter — Kelly-Powell knows two of Gilmore’s grandsons as they also attended Cass Tech — while defensive backs coach Todd Lyght has pitched in too. Lyght, who also played his high school football in Michigan, and Kelly-Powell have built up a rapport over the last year.
“Great guy,” Kelly-Powell said. “He played for Notre Dame, went to the league and came back. That says a lot about the school that you want to coach and start something. He’s a great coach. I’ve talked to him about technique and a lot of our conversations are about life after football, the education.”
After leaving Notre Dame, Kelly-Powell and Thomas traveled to Arkansas for an unofficial visit. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos, the primary recruiter, helped convince the duo to spend some time in Fayetteville.
Kelly-Powell said the trip went well.
“It actually did,” he said. “You know, they’re like, ‘Come out to Arkansas.’ You’re like, ‘Arkansas?’ The name of it is just like, ‘What?’ But you go out there and it blows you away.”
Next up are planned visits to Ohio State and Penn State in July. Kelly-Powell also hopes to see Oregon before hunkering down to come up with a top 10. He’s already beginning to formulate a list of critical factors.
“What’s gonna factor into it is a great education,” Kelly-Powell said. “Life after football, where do I fit into the system, coaches and my relationship with them. And the environment, do I see myself as a student? Coaches, it’s a business. They’re gonna end up leaving. Some coaches are staying. But do I see myself as a student at the school.”