BEAVERTON, Ore. - Joshua Paschal always knew a Notre Dame visit would happen at some point.
Family interest in the program would take the four-star defensive end from Olney, Md., to South Bend eventually. What Paschal didn’t know was how much he would like Notre Dame after seeing it in June for the first time.
“We were just gonna take a trip up there,” Paschal said. “My dad actually wanted to check it out and stuff like that because one of my uncles is a really big Notre Dame fan. When I went up there, I knew it was a great program and stuff like that. I knew I might like it a little bit. It turned out I liked it a lot.”
Paschal gained fresh perspective on the Irish by talking with the coaches in person. He also connected with offensive lineman Sam Mustipher, who also attended Good Counsel High School.
Mustipher offered up a student-athlete point of view and a little insight into Keith Gilmore, who’s heading into his second season as defensive line coach.
“He said he liked it a lot,” Paschal said. “He was talking about the new defensive line coach. Before when they did one-on-ones with the defensive line, it was basically easier for the offensive linemen. But when their coach came in, he taught them everything. The defensive line coach is a very good coach.”
Paschal talked with Gilmore during the visit. Head coach Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder also pitched their vision for the 6-foot-3, 253-pound prospect.
“They said they’d use me as a defensive end,” Paschal said. “But with their defensive ends, they sometimes might slide them out to outside linebacker and make them blitz off the edge and stuff like that.”
Overall, Paschal liked the visit enough that he’s starting to think about an official visit either during or after the season. There’s nothing on the schedule at this point.
Either way, the Irish vaulted their way up his list.
“It was way better than I expected,” Paschal said. “I didn’t expect it to be like that. Just because, I don’t know. It was a different vibe there. I don’t know how to explain it. It was just better than what I would expect.”
Right now Paschal is trying to trim down the list with Notre Dame, Maryland and Oklahoma as the programs best positioned to make a cut.
“They’ve just got my attention,” Paschal said. “With their recruiting, they’re always talking to me. They’re telling me where I’m gonna play at, how I’m gonna play. Stuff like that.”
Paschal isn't sure what’s next beyond cutting the list of suitors.
“I don’t know when I’m gonna make my decision but I’m gonna have a top list coming soon for officials,” he said.