The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Alex Hunt has always been an Irish fan and couldn't miss out on seeing the campus, even if it cost him a ski trip with his teammates.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the stadium, the facilities where the players train at, and meet the coaches," Hunt said.
Hunt, a state qualifier in the 200-meter dash (22.5 seconds) as a sophomore, and a reported 4.4 runner in the 40-yard dash, is getting a lot of mail from schools across the country. Georgia Tech was just at Duluth on Monday. He has been there, Georgia and Duke for unofficial visits. Florida is asking for tape, and Auburn is writing constantly. Yet with all this attention he is getting, and without ever stepping foot on Notre Dame's campus, Hunt told Gillespie Notre Dame is his top school early in the recruiting process.
"Who wouldn't want to go to Notre Dame," Hunt stated. "I have a lot of schools I am interested in, but Notre Dame is definitely on the top of my list. I just always had a interest in Notre Dame ever since I was young. It seems like an atmosphere I would want to be in with good football and good school."
Hunt missed most of his junior season with a concussion and a dislocated shoulder. He rushed for over 400 yards in what adds up to about three games of time. In one of the two full games Hunt was available, he showed why he will be recruited heavily, gaining 238 yards on 16 carries (14.9 avg.), and scoring two touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Hunt jumped on the national radar, sharing time in the backfield with Vanderbilt signee Kennard Reaves. Both backs ran for over 800 yards.
"He is a versatile athlete," Gillespie said. "He can definitely catch the ball out of the backfield. He has great game-breaking speed. Some guys have the quickness to get down the field for 30 or 40 yards and then get stopped. Alex has the speed to go all the way and not get caught."
"I'm a smart runner," Hunt said. "I don't like to give up at all. I can pretty much read anything. It's just a lot of natural talent. I can take orders well, and I'm good at learning things fast, if have to learn things the day before the game.
"I can catch, and I'm pretty fast. I know my good share of routes. During the offseason and preseason, when we do (seven-on-seven), I'm one on of the top receivers."
Hunt is also a top student, earning a 3.5 accumulative GPA. He is scheduled to take the SAT in May. While every recruit lists academics as a high priority with what school they're going to choose, you just get the feeling that with Hunt it's absolutely true. That's why Notre Dame and Duke rank so high with him.
"I want to go to college and play football and all, but I really want to go to college and get a good education, so I can start my life on my own," he explained.
Hunt's quote about his visit to Duke says it all.
"We watched their last game against North Carolina and visited the football facilities," he said. "It was a great environment. I wouldn't mind going to Duke. They have a great graduation rate and a good school. And they've shown a great interest me."
Hunt hasn't been to too many camps, but will be on the road this summer.
"I've tried, but I do track, and by summer football starts," Hunt said of why he hasn't attended many camps yet. "If I am not visiting colleges, I'm practicing football getting ready for the season. I'm going to try to make it to some camps and combines this summer because it's the summer before my senior season.
"I'm thinking about going to Notre Dame's camp and UGA's camp, Duke's camp and Ole Miss's camp."
While that's a priority this summer, the big thing is getting ready for hopefully an injury free senior season.
When Hunt dislocated his shoulder, shortly after returning to the lineup from the concussion, he told the trainer to pop it back in and let him return to the field. But with the shoulder taking a long time to be put back into place, the degree of the injury was severe and shelved Hunt for the season.
"I'm very anxious for next season," Hunt said. I'm trying to train myself real hard and go out there and have a healthy season. I feel like I am gaining weight and increasing speed. I feel like if I would've played the whole season, I would've had a great season.
I'm looking forward to a great senior year, that's all I can hope for.
And hopefully a scholarship offer from Notre Dame.