Commitments usually don’t play out like Jordan Pouncey's last summer.
After on-field action at the Irish Invasion concluded, Pouncey climbed into the stands at Notre Dame Stadium to talk with head coach Brian Kelly. Pouncey, a three-star wide receiver from Winter Park, Fla., offered Kelly a verbal pledge right there. Kelly accepted.
Pouncey made that choice in front of several people — media, fellow campers and one of his coaches. But his parents weren’t alongside for the visit.
They’ll get their first look at Notre Dame this weekend as Pouncey returns for his official visit. Both parents are making the trek as well, giving Pouncey a chance to show them why the Irish won him over in the first place.
“It’s important to me that when my parents get up there they like it,” Pouncey said. “If they like it that means they know it’s the right place for me because I know they have the best interests for me. Having reassurance from them will make me feel a lot better about it.”
Pouncey has told his parents plenty about Notre Dame. His mom has been doing her own research. But the 6-foot-3, 186-pound prospect expects in-person experience to trump all that.
“My mom has prepared herself,” Pouncey said. “She follows everything Notre Dame now, ever since I committed. She’s been on board with the whole thing. My dad, he doesn’t really travel that much so it’ll be nice to see him interact with everyone up there. That’s the one person that I know, if he likes it, I’ll be good there. Me and him have such a strong bond. Getting reassurance from him will mean a lot.”
Getting back on campus will let Pouncey check some things off the list as well.
Several future teammates will be in for official visits. Fellow receiver Michael Young is set to return for the first time since Irish Invasion. Cornerback Paulson Adebo, offensive lineman Robert Hainsey, safety Isaiah Robertson and linebacker Drew White are also on the guest list.
Pouncey also plans to take a close look at the game itself to see how the Irish play against Stanford after struggling to a 2-4 start.
“I think the sign of any good team is they’re willing to compete and they can fight through adversity,” Pouncey said. “That’s the reason I chose to take my official visit this weekend because I know the Stanford game is a very important one in the season and in the Stanford season. This game is gonna be crucial to where they stand, if they’re gonna lay down or if they’re gonna compete. I’m sure they’ll compete. Coach Kelly won’t let that happen.”
Pouncey has been watching afar while Notre Dame handles the unexpected start. He’s not on the same page as some criticizing Kelly.
“The reason why I like him a lot is because he has the kid’s best interest,” Pouncey said. “He’s definitely a player’s coach unlike some of the other schools I was recruited by. Like in the interviews, he doesn’t blame the kids at all. He blames the coaching staff. That means a lot.
“It’s easy to blame the kids. Like, ‘our kids aren’t that good so we can’t win.’ But to be able to stand in front of people and say it’s the coaching staff’s fault, that means a lot.”
But those reassurances haven’t kept other programs from continuing to pursue.
Pouncey talks with other coaches on the regular. He’s visited Miami, which hasn’t offered a scholarship, a couple times this season along with making a trip to UCF. Florida, a finalist earlier in the process, also remains in contact.
“Coaches from other schools talk to me every day and stuff like that,” Pouncey said. “But I’m committed to Notre Dame. The conversations with other schools aren’t as serious because I’m not committed to them. When I talk to other coaches I keep in mind and I try to make sure other coaches keep in mind that I’m committed to Notre Dame.”