Visits aren’t something Houston Griffith is spending a whole lot of time on this season.
That’s not to say the four-star junior cornerback is disregarding his recruitment. Griffith took advantage of a long weekend to visit Notre Dame for its game against Stanford, making the trek from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as did a couple teammates.
Griffith is in his first season at IMG after transferring from Mt. Carmel in Chicago, so the Midwest visit doubled as some time back home.
Four-star offensive tackle Robert Hainsey, a Notre Dame commitment, and four-star safety Grant Delpit also made the trip from IMG. Delpit is currently committed to LSU.
“I just noticed that it’s a great atmosphere in South Bend at night,” Griffith said. “They have a big rivalry with Stanford. It’d be really neat if I chose to make the decision to go to Notre Dame and be a part f the tradition they have there.”
Much has changed for Notre Dame since Griffith visited in June for Irish Invasion.
Brian VanGorder is no longer the defensive coordinator following a rocky start to the season. After a 17-10 loss to Stanford, the Irish are 2-5 heading into their bye week. Head coach Brian Kelly spent some time addressing the season with recruits in town.
“I talked to coach Kelly before the game and he said it’s a young team,” Griffith said. “Young teams might struggle to learn how to play together and win together but I’m sure they’re just gonna get better from here on. It just shows. Julian (Love) started on Saturday and knowing him and knowing that he got a start, that shows that the coaches are gonna let the freshmen play.”
Griffith knows Love, a freshman cornerback, from their time in the same Chicagoland 7-on-7 program. Like Griffith before the move to IMG, Love came from a Catholic school program in the area.
Seeing that similar background gave Griffith a window into how the Irish coaching staff operates.
“It shows they put a lot of trust in their players and know they’re gonna make plays, especially at a young age,” he said.
Griffith caught up with more familiar faces as well.
Safety commitment Isaiah Robertson played 7-on-7 ball with Griffith last spring and summer. Four-star junior running back commitment Markese Stepp has stayed in touch with the 6-foot, 180-pound prospect since Irish Invasion.
Robertson and Stepp did more recruiting during Griffith’s visit. Attending the game, however, helped bring certain things to light on its own.
“It was really cool,” Griffith said. “Saturday night I was able to see why they actually chose it. They told me they wanted to play in big games and that’s a big game to play in, big rivalry. It was a good time in South Bend.”
Griffith departed the Midwest on Sunday with no other visits scheduled.
Instead he’ll turn his focus back to IMG Academy, which is 6-0 heading into a nationally televised matchup with Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian this week. So far, IMG has been everything Griffith expected it would be.
“I feel like it has a big impact on me. I’ve gotten faster,” Griffith said. “That was one of my goals for the offseason I told you. I’ve gotten faster and I’ve gotten bigger as well.”
Griffith plans to take a deeper dive into recruiting after the season by cutting down the list of contenders.
Some of the scholarship offers available include Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee, among others.
While admitting there are a few programs already safe for that cut, Griffith isn’t ready to reveal any just yet.
“Probably after the season I’ll come out with a top five or a top 10 and I’ll go from there,” Griffith said. “I’ll make a decision on narrowing it down.”