Irish Illustrated: Big picture question to start: What’s the ride been like from first recruiting letter to officially signing with Notre Dame?
Cole Kmet: It’s still surreal that it happened. It’s a blessing that I got to go through this. It was a little hectic at times, a little crazy. But, you know, I’m obviously grateful for the experience to go through it. I’m happy that I’ve been committed for so long and so solid with Notre Dame.
II: Going back, at what point did you know being recruited at this level was a distinct possibility?
CK: I never even looked at it as a possibility. It was always just something I kind of dreamed about. It just one day happened when I took my first visit to Louisville. I didn’t really expect anything. I just looked around and then they offered me. I was like, ‘Wow, this is pretty amazing that this is happening.’ From then on it’s been a crazy ride.
II: When did it become sort of normal?
CK: I think when I got probably three or four months into it. You get the hang of it. It’s almost like playing a game. You’ve gotta keep in contact with the coaches and stuff. You get used to it after awhile. I still wanted it to be over rather quickly. I obviously ended my recruitment early.
II: What about it made you feel like the right choice was to end it quickly?
CK: As a kid I always grew up watching Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan. Those were the three schools that I wanted and I got them. Once I got those three I narrowed it down really quickly. Once I visited Notre Dame it was one of the easiest decisions to make.
II: What did it take for you to realize Notre Dame was the spot?
CK: I took a couple visits before the visit that kinda sold me. I went to Irish Invasion and got offered. I went to a game then I went on a visit back in the summer when I wanted to narrow things down. It was like the perfect day. It was 73 degrees, slight breeze, just an awesome day and the campus looked great. It was almost like a sign I should probably go there. It’s been awesome ever since.
II: What happened once you knew it was the place?
CK: I knew it was the spot. We had a trip scheduled to Ohio State. We were driving back from Ohio State, driving home. I think I just kind of knew then, being honest with myself. I think I knew my heart was with Notre Dame.
II: Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if you had played the process out longer?
CK: No. I can’t believe some kids do it. I know a lot of kids like the attention and stuff and they like the love they’re getting from different schools. Once it comes to Wednesday that’s all over for everyone. You’ve gotta get ready to go to work in the summer then for the season.
II: You miss out on the official visits and stuff like that.
CK: Yeah, it’s nice to get the attention but it’s not real. The coaches like you but eventually they’re going to be yelling at you one day. Some kids don’t realize that yet. They’ll be yelling at you and you’ve gotta be able to take it. The same guy that’s recruiting you hard is going to be the guy that’s going to be on you too.
II: So was it beneficial to commit early then just be able to go back to work?
CK: I chose a school and I believe that. I didn’t commit to a coaching staff or something else. I committed to the school and the school fits me. It was a big deal to me. I’ll benefit from that.
II: All that got put to the test with the season and the staff changes. How was it to view that from afar?
CK: You’re kind of curious, I guess you could say. You’re nervous. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, so you just have to stick it out and have some faith that it’s going to work out. It does. Everything does eventually work out. It worked out and now we’re in a great situation. The offensive coordinator is the tight ends coach. It couldn’t have worked out better for me. I think I’m going into a great situation. I’m really excited for it.
II: Talk about a small world with Chip Long having recruited you at Arizona State and now he’s your position coach.
CK: It’s pretty cool. It’s amazing how that happens. I remember how he walked in my sophomore year and everyone was kinda like, ‘Oh, Arizona State. It’s out west and stuff. How cool is that?’ It’s kinda cool to see him now at Notre Dame and our paths cross again.
II: What was the coolest thing about the recruiting process?
CK: I think meeting all the coaches was sweet. Being able to talk to Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, coach Kelly, obviously. Coach (Pat) Fitzgerald from Northwestern. All those guys you get to meet you saw on TV as a kid growing up. You get to talk to them and they tell you they want you at their school. It’s pretty cool.
II: What was the worst part?
CK: Probably the same thing. Getting all the calls from those coaches.
II: And the interviews, right?
CK: Interviews weren’t bad. I just selected some guys I wanted to do interviews with and stuck with them. But definitely the best thing was talking to coaches and the worst thing too. It’s so time consuming. There’s two ends of it.
II: The media part is so big now and everyone handles it differently. When did you start to understand that part of it?
CK: I think right away. I got my first offer and I had to call four guys on the ride home when all I wanted to do was sleep. My dad wanted me to call and I wanted to be respectful. You want to call everyone but you start to realize that if there’s four guys per school and there’s 12 schools coming after me I’m not gonna be calling 48 different guys. You’ve gotta kinda narrow it down.
II: Looking ahead, anything you’re anxious about when it comes to enrolling this summer?
CK: Anxious is a good word. I’m really excited to go. This will be my first time leaving home for any real amount of time. I’ll be there for the summer. I’m excited to meet up with all the guys and get workouts started. It’s gonna be really hard and I’m ready for that. I’m excited but there’s a new factor. It’s something new and whenever something is new you’re nervous. But I think the excitement overrides that.
II: Do you think your mom will cry when you leave?
CK: Oh, she was crying a couple days ago. When she talks about it she starts crying. I’m like, ‘Don’t worry you’ve got a little time.’ But yeah, she’ll definitely cry.