Micah Jones headed to Notre Dame last weekend knowing what to expect.
Game day visits in South Bend are nothing new for the junior receiver from Gurnee, Ill. Jones watched from the stands last season when the Irish played Navy. But this time around brought a different wrinkle — Notre Dame faced rival Stanford with a primetime kickoff.
After seeing games under different circumstances, Jones is convinced he’s experienced one of the best game day atmospheres in the country.
“It’s one of the top if not the top environments I’ve seen so far,” Jones said. “It’s definitely one of the top in the Midwest and it’s probably one of the top in the nation. It has great tradition for that and it really stacks up at the top.”
Jones watched with an eye toward future possibilities.
Notre Dame offered the 6-foot-5, 195-pound prospect last summer after his Irish Invasion camp performance. Since the Irish are a legitimate option, Jones watches them with more a sense of purpose.
Head coach Brian Kelly and wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock have outlined the outside spots as places Jones could flourish in their offense. They talked about it again Saturday.
“They see me at one of the X or W positions,” Jones said. “It’s probably like the Equanimeous (St. Brown) position or the Alize Jones-type position.”
Despite a 17-10 loss to Stanford, Jones felt like Notre Dame played well.
“There were a few mistakes they could’ve fixed and done better that probably would’ve gotten them the win,” he said. “But they fought all the way to the end like they did every other game. That’s really what I look forward to seeing — them fighting every game. It’s not really the wins and losses. It’s probably how they fight throughout the game. They really fought and showed how good their character is, how good the coaches’ character is throughout the game.”
Visiting South Bend again marked a third game day visit for Jones this season. He’s also made trips to Iowa and Northwestern.
Jones plans to visit Missouri this month. Stops at Ole Miss, Ohio State and Michigan State are also on the docket before the season ends. At this point in his recruitment, Jones isn’t necessarily evaluating results on the field.
“It’s more about how they play and probably less about the result,” Jones said. “A lot of the teams I’ve been offered by and the teams I like aren’t having as good of seasons as I thought they would. At this point it’s really about how they play, how the coaches coach and whether they’re gonna try their hardest at the end of the season whether they’re going to a bowl or not going to a bowl.”
Wrapping up game day trips will set the stage for another, perhaps more important, round of visits in the offseason. Jones is targeting a decision sometime in the spring or summer.
“After the visits for the rest of the season I’m probably gonna end up taking a couple overnight visits,” he said. “As close as I can get to an official visit because I can’t take those until I’m a senior. I’m gonna try to take as close to those as I can get, so I’m gonna stay overnight and stay with some of the players probably in the spring time with some of the top schools on my list so I can narrow it down. I’ll make my decision probably by the middle of the spring or early summer.”