BEAVERTON, Ore. - Salvon Ahmed put plenty of research into his top five.
Earlier this week the four-star athlete from Kirkland, Wash., revealed those programs still in play. Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, USC and Washington made the cut. In doing so, he included four regional programs he’s previously visited.
Then there’s Notre Dame, which has yet to get Ahmed on campus. But that didn’t keep the Irish from remaining a contender. They can thank defensive backs coach and area recruiter Todd Lyght for that success.
Lyght has been talking to Ahmed since the beginning of his junior year. He kept Notre Dame in play even when it hadn’t offered. Once a scholarship came the relationship elevated.
“He hit me up that first day and we’ve been building a great relationship,” Ahmed said. “They didn’t offer me that whole process and we kept talking every day. He was asking how I am and telling me great things about the education. Something I wanna major in is business marketing, so we talked a lot about that. They have a great program over there. We talked almost every day and I felt like we had a really, really good relationship.
“So after a long time of creating that bond, they offered me. I felt like it was a good decision for me to put them in my top because I felt comfortable with him as a person and I felt like I’d feel comfortable at the school.”
Ahmed knows the next step in getting to know Notre Dame better — taking an official visit, even if it’s could be his only trip to campus. Ahmed plans to start talking over dates with the coaching staff soon.
Head coach Brian Kelly has already been in touch about the possibility.
“I talked to coach Kelly actually (Thursday),” Ahmed said. “We’re gonna set up an official visit here soon and get that going. It’s gonna be in the fall. I don’t know if I’m gonna take all five but I’m definitely gonna take some.”
Oregon, USC, Washington and Stanford have all played host at least once. Even so, Ahmed feels Notre Dame is a potentially comfortable fit without having seen it for himself.
Taking in the game day atmosphere, however, should give him a better idea of things.
“I’ve heard so much great things about the campus,” Ahmed said. “I just wanna see it and be able to get a feel. I feel personally that I would love to be at the school but I wanna get that feel of, ‘Am I really gonna love it here if I don’t have football?’ I feel like I would. I just wanna get that feeling and see the game atmosphere, everything you get from an official visit.”
As of now, Ahmed plans to make a commitment sometime early in the season. He spoke on each of the other finalists as well.
Oregon: I've been over there two times. I’ve been able to build a great relationship with all the coaches … Like I said, I could see myself over there. I like the offense that they run, fast paced and no huddle.
Stanford: I got to go over there a couple months ago. I have a great relationship with coach (David) Shaw and then coach (Lance) Taylor. Those are both great guys and, like I said, they preach a lot about education and what they can do for me after school, which is what I love. They run kind of an NFL-style offense. They want me as a running back. I could see myself hitting those holes and running that offense. They want to use me as a Christian McCaffrey type of guy. Put me in the slot, play a little quarterback and running back. I love how they can use me at multiple positions.
USC: That’s a dream school of mine since I was a kid. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have them in my top five. Like I said, with them, they want me as an athlete. I love the playing style and I love the tradition. That’s definitely another school that I could see myself at.
Washington: They were the first school to offer me. It’s just, I’ve got a great relationship with every single coach .They’ve kinda got an advantage because I’m able to go over there whenever I want. They give me that leeway over there to visit whenever. Coach (Chris) Petersen, I’m sure a lot of the guys here would even tell you, coach Petersen is a great guy. He’s a guy that preaches way more than football to you. Their OKG program is definitely something to look into. I love the atmosphere. It’s definitely a school I could see myself there.