Michael Young thought about making a commitment months ago.
Taking a spring game visit to Oregon in April brought the three-star receiver from Destrehan, La., to the brink of a verbal pledge. But having a Notre Dame offer in hand convinced Young to hold off. He’s since visited South Bend.
Making the trek to Irish Invasion last month gave Young all the information he needed to compare Notre Dame to Oregon and Texas A&M, another longtime contender. It also made the process of getting down to a final choice more complicated.
“It was harder,” Young said. “It was definitely harder because Oregon, when I went up there, I absolutely loved it. If it wasn’t for Notre Dame, I probably would’ve committed to Oregon.”
Now Young is ready. He plans to announce a commitment on Wednesday. There’s no specific time just yet. Notre Dame, Oregon and Texas A&M are the primary options. He’s visited each at least once since spring.
There's also a new wrinkle — former Destrehan teammate Kirk Merritt recently announced a transfer from Oregon with plans to enroll at Texas A&M.
Either way, Young went about his own process. There were some important criteria in mind for the 5-foot-11, 178-pound prospect and his family.
“Academics is No. 1 in my household because I know football isn't forever,” Young said. “Football isn’t guaranteed. Academics was extremely huge. You know, being comfortable. Talking to my dad, he told me, ‘Hey, I don't care what school you choose because I’m not the one that has to actually go there and live that campus life, sit in class, go to practice.’ He was like, ‘I don’t have to do that. You need to go some place you feel comfortable enough to do that.’
“And then just as far as the coaching staff, them being honest and genuine. The coaching staff showing a lot of trust, putting a lot of trust in me and letting me know what I’m capable of doing.”
Young went on the break down each of the main contenders heading into his announcement.
Notre Dame: It's the coaches. Coach (Mike) Denbrock and coach (Autry) Denson, they’re real genuine guys. They’re nice guys. They didn’t tell me what the typical coach would tell you, selling a pitch to you. They kept it real with me. I can’t do anything but appreciate that. Then sitting down with coach (Brian) Kelly, it wasn’t so much about the football aspect for Notre Dame, it’s where Notre Dame can get you in life. That stuck with me a lot. And then when I went there, I felt comfortable. I absolutely felt comfortable. I felt like I could see myself in the blue and gold. Once I went on that visit, being able to sit down with the coaches and interacting with some of the players, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a place I could definitely see myself.’
Oregon: When I went up to Oregon, that town of Eugene I felt like resembled my hometown. Same roads, it felt like Destrehan. I felt like it resembled that. That was cool because I’m not a kid that has to go to a big city. That’s not me. I can. I can adjust. But I don’t have to go to a big city. When I saw Eugene, when I saw that game atmosphere because I went up there for the spring game, and how all the coaches were showing me love and interacting with the players while I was there, it made me feel like, ‘Wow, this is comfortable. I could really get used to this.’
Texas A&M: I always said I wanted to play in the SEC. The type of person I am, I never knew somebody like A&M would come in and offer a guy like me. I thought maybe if I did get offered, I’d be like an under-the-radar guy, some semi-big offers. They were the first school to come around. They were the first SEC offer. Coach (Noel) Mazzone, he loves my film. Coach (Aaron) Moorehead, he loves my film as well. They’ve been in the game so long because they were the first people to give me an opportunity to play in the SEC. Then when I talked to coach Moorehead, he feels I’m the greatest fit for that offense. He said my game reminds them of Christian Kirk. If they get the ball in my hands, I could make a lot of great things happen.