Everything happened a little faster than Anthony McDonald (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) expected when he arrived in South Bend, but he knew he was ready to make his decision. Notre Dame made a bigger impression on him than he expected, so it was an easy decision to end his recruitment.
"We got there kind of late on Wednesday, so the first thing we did was watch practice," McDonald said when asked about his visit to Notre Dame. "I was blown away just watching the first practice. The defense is definitely heading in the right direction with coach Brown. Coach Weis was getting mad at coach Brown because the defense was playing so well that it wasn't letting the offense run their plays.
"I watched the linebackers. Their defense really looks good and you can tell that coach Brown is making an impact there. It was funny, because their defense looked a lot like ours. It seemed like I fit in perfectly with their ‘Mike' linebacker position.
"I was watching practice with coach Weis, coach Brown and coach Polian," McDonald said. "After practice coach Polian told us that they wanted to meet, so we went to a room. We were talking and he was explaining stuff and it just felt like the right time, so I committed. It really was a just matter of time before I was going to do it and that moment just felt like the perfect time."
During the remainder of his visit McDonald had a chance to see rest of the Notre Dame campus.
"I took a tour of the university," McDonald said. "It just amazed me. It was cool and I felt like it was the perfect fit for me. I had been doing a lot of research on Notre Dame and you can't go wrong. It's everything from the academics to the 11 national championships, the Four Horsemen, Knute Rockne, and the Gipper. You can't go wrong…it's Notre Dame.
"On Friday, I watched film with the coaches and went to the team meetings and went to the linebacker meetings. I met with the academic people. They gave me a tour of the athletic facilities. I was just amazed by all of their facilities. They're top-notch and I don't think any school can compare to what they have. My dad was real excited and he was blown away by the academics and how they graduate most players in three and a half years.
"We hung out with Jimmy Clausen a little bit," McDonald said. "I really didn't get a chance to talk to many players one-on-one, although I did talk to some guys that were from California. I asked them how they made the transition. They said it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be. They weren't as homesick as they thought they would have been. That was definitely reassuring, because I'm going to be traveling a long way from home, but they said they didn't have a problem with, so I don't think I'll have trouble either.
"I left right after the scrimmage on Saturday. It was definitely a good trip. I was pretty tired from everything, but it was all worth it. I was pretty busy the whole time. For the most part I was talking to the coaches or going over film. Coach Weis has a pretty good idea of where he wants the defense to go. I'm coming down there and I'm going to help them win a national championship."
Finished the 2006 season with 101 tackles, 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.