Safety prospect Shawn Oatis said he loved his official visit to Notre Dame.
"The people there were very nice," Oatis said of Notre Dame. "I liked everything about it. I liked the coaching staff, the fans, the student section was crazy and really into the game the entire time."
Oatis also said the visit surprised him as he didn't expect what he saw at Notre Dame.
"I never pictured it to be as great as it was," he said of Notre Dame. "You know about the tradition, but it's just totally different when you are there. Everything was amazing. Touchdown Jesus, the walk to the stadium, the fans, it was amazing."
The California native said the Notre Dame locker room was really something he looked forward to seeing.
"That was a great experience--being in the locker room after the game. Growing up liking Notre Dame, you see the movie 'Rudy' and you wonder what it's like.
"You start thinking about all the great players that have been in that locker room. And then you start thinking that you could be in that locker room adding to that tradition and making your mark."
"I really liked both of them," Oatis said of the two Irish freshmen. "We're the same type of people. I got along great with all the guys on the team."
Oatis also said he also developed a nice friendship with linebacker prospect Brian Cushing on the visit.
"Brian and I are a lot alike," he said of Cushing. "We hung out the entire time. He's a great linebacker and a great guy. His decision to go to Notre Dame, if that's where he goes, would really influence my decision. We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses. We'll definitely keep in touch throughout this."
We asked Oatis if he was tempted to commit during his visit.
"I was a number of times but I wanted to give everyone a chance," he said. "I wanted to really think about that. Coach Willingham is such a nice guy. He didn't pressure me at all for a commitment. He basically said the ball is in my court and they'll be waiting for me to decide. I liked hearing that."
Oatis said he wasn't the only person to enjoy the visit to Notre Dame.
"My dad loved it," he said. "He was amazed by all the tradition and everything. My aunt and Uncle loved it as well. They're all pushing for Notre Dame."
Oatis has one more official visit left before he makes his decision.
"I go to Ohio State in two weeks," said Oatis. "Right now it's pretty much Notre Dame and UCLA as my top two. I'll see what Ohio State has and then I'll probably make my decision sometime shortly after that visit. Notre Dame and UCLA are definitely my top two right now."
We asked Oatis what about UCLA attracted him.
"I like coach Dorrell," Oatis said. "I kind of know a lot of people at UCLA and guys interested in UCLA. It would be some familiar faces, and they have good academics."
We also asked Oatis if staying close to home and that confort level UCLA offers would be a big factor in his final decision.
"Distance doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I'm just looking for the school that offers me the best opportunity."
Oatis also said he wasn't sure what would be the deciding factors when he makes his final decision.
"I wish I knew," he said when asked what criteria he would look at before deciding. "They're both good schools. I suppose it will be gut instinct. I might flip a coin. I really don't know. I guess when it hits me."
Comments: The Irish made a big impression on Oatis. We do think this will be a two-team race in the end. Ohio State will get their say, however. He appears very focused on Notre Dame and UCLA at this moment. We think the Irish have a great shot to land Oatis.