Micah Jones is starting to go more in-depth with his recruitment.
Overnight visits are a sign of this transition. Jones, a three-star wide receiver from Gurnee, Ill., recently made such a stop at Northwestern. He’ll do the same this weekend at Notre Dame for its first Junior Day. Jones plans to arrive in South Bend on Friday and stay into Sunday.
“I just want to talk to the new staff and get to know them,” Jones said. “Get to know the ins and outs of the staff and meet with the strength and conditioning coach, talk to him. On top of that, I’d like to talk to the 2018 guys more. I’ve texted back and forth with some of them. It’d be great to talk to them and meet them in person. Then meet the guys that are there right now.”
Jones has already visited Notre Dame multiple times, although some things have changed since his last look.
Last summer at Irish Invasion the 6-foot-5, 195-pound prospect added an offer after working out for the staff. But then-wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock is now the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Del Alexander, formerly at Arizona State, is the new receivers coach.
Notre Dame also has Chip Long as its new offensive coordinator. Head coach Brian Kelly kept in touch with Jones as the staff changes were shaking out.
“It’s been a steady communication like it was before with coach Denbrock,” Jones said. “They’ve just followed that up. Coach Kelly made sure to contact me and say that they’re still reaching out and still gonna be there for me. I’ve been in constant contact with coach Alexander, as he was when he was the wide receivers coach at Arizona State. I talked to him there, so it was kind of a smooth transition for me. We’ve been in contact almost every day.”
Jones wants to start this weekend’s visit by reconnecting with Alexander in person.
“He’s a great man,” Jones said. “I would love for him to be my coach. He’s a really down-to-Earth guy. He’ll tell you what you need to do and work on. He’ll let you know the things you need to get better at and that’s what you want in a wide receivers coach.”
Returning to South Bend will also give Jones the opportunity to meet up with current Irish commitments. All six are expected in town for the event.
Four-star quarterback Phil Jurkovec, four-star running back Markese Stepp and four-star linebacker Ovie Oghoufo have all been talking with Jones already. Current long snapper John Shannon has reached out as well.
“They’re funny guys,” Jones said. “I talk to Phil, the quarterback. I talk to Markese and Ovie, the linebacker. I talk to some of those guys and they’re really wanting to get me down there and to commit. I talk to John almost every day. He lives up by where I live. It’s just a good fit.”
Notre Dame isn’t without competition as Jones sorts through his recruitment.
Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Northwestern are all strong contenders. Jones recently took an overnight visit to Northwestern and has one planned for Michigan State later this month.
Other offers include Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Syracuse. Nebraska and Washington State have reached out recently to express interest.
One way or another, Jones hopes to have things sorted out by spring, making these visits all the more important.
“I’m just going to sit back and see how this goes,” he said. “I have a couple more schools starting to talk to me, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll just sit back and let it happen. As of now, my decision is still going to be in April. That’s how I’m gonna attack it. I’m gonna wait and see what happens.”