Drew White had one more box to check before signing with Notre Dame next week.
Returning to campus for an official visit got it done. White, a three-star linebacker from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been committed to the Irish since March. He’d visited for a junior day back then and returned to campus during the season for games.
Yet with all those visits, his mother hadn’t been able to join. Returning last weekend for an official visit presented one last opportunity for mom to see campus before signing day.
“This time was definitely the most time I’ve spent on campus,” White said. “My mom and dad were up with me. It was my mom’s first time seeing the campus. It was really important to me that she see it before I signed. She loved it just as much as I did. The weekend went fantastic. I couldn’t really ask for anything more from Notre Dame. I thought they did a great job with the visit.”
Although pretty familiar with campus, White experienced some new things as well.
White toured some different buildings, including a stop inside the Golden Dome itself. He learned more about what life will be like from a day-to-day standpoint as a student and football player. Then came the meetings with coaches.
Head coach Brian Kelly and new linebackers coach Clark Lea visited White during the previous couple weeks. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko introduced himself during the official visit.
“It was my first time meeting him,” White said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a very energetic guy that I can’t wait to work with. He had a great presentation while we were there on just the scheme of the defense and how each person fits into it. All the recruits that were inside this room, we got to see how each one of us fit into his style of defense. He showed his Wake Forest players making a play then would take a play from our highlight and show us making the same exact play. I thought that was one of the coolest parts of the visit, seeing how we really fit into his style of defense.”
White knew a little bit about Elko and his 4-2-5 system before the meeting. Elko helped shine a light on how linebackers can thrive in that setup.
“I’m really excited,” White said. “He likes to blitz the linebackers, which I love. He wants to play aggressive. He likes to get sacks, turnovers and tackles-for-loss. That’s just what any linebacker wants to hear. It’s great to know that we’re going keep the offense on their toes and we’re not going to play passively. We want to direct their style of play.”
Kelly, Elko and Lea also gave White and fellow linebacker commitment David Adams a vote of confidence. Adams, a four-star prospect, was also visiting that weekend.
Notre Dame doesn’t plan to recruit any additional linebackers. Previous targets Antjuan Simmons, now committed to Michigan State, and Ellis Brooks fell by the wayside over the last few weeks.
“They stopped recruiting any other inside linebackers that they were recruiting before coach Elko and coach Lea got there,” White said. “Once they got in and saw our film and talked to us they knew we were the two inside linebackers that they wanted. They stopped recruiting the others. Now they’re just recruiting that rover position.
“I think that was really cool for me and David. It gave us confidence and showed us how the coaching staff looked at us. We’re really excited to play with each other.”
White and Adams spent time together throughout the visit weekend. Three-star defensive tackle pledge Kurt Hinish, who teamed with Adams at the high school level, was on hand as well. The trio spent most of their trip getting to know each other better while recruiting uncommitted targets.
White spent the most time with safeties Evan Fields and Jordan Genmark-Heath.
Fields is set to announce Monday.
“We bonded like we have before,” White said. “We were just talking to the other kids. We really like to let it speak for itself. I think the campus just opens the eyes of a lot of different recruits because of how unique the campus is. It’s not like any other campus in the nation. I think it really surprises some of the guys. We let it speak for itself. But we were definitely in their ears and trying to give them good views.”