Brendan Beal (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) has made two trips to see the Notre Dame campus, so Charlie Weis and his staff paid him back by making a stop at Beal's high school.
"I think the whole Notre Dame staff came in last week, or at least most of it," Beal responded when asked if the Irish staff had paid him a visit. "Coach Weis was there, so the whole school was going nuts. Seeing that at my high school you really realize the tradition and what the Notre Dame name stands for. If you go to Notre Dame you have the option to do anything in life. It's definitely a great place and even if I go to another school, I'll still say that it's a great place. I have a lot of respect for the school.
"During my trip in April, I got to see the campus, which I didn't get to see on my first trip. It was pretty incredible. It just felt like a magical place and they said that on gameday it's really impressive. It helped that coach Weis gave me the tour. It was cool to get his perspective. It's definitely a cool place.
"I got a chance to speak with a couple players," Beal said. "I ate lunch with John Ryan. I also got a chance to talk to Jimmy Clausen. He told me all about the process and things that went into his decision. He wasn't pushing Notre Dame, and like most guys he told me to go where I feel comfortable and where I connect with the people. Most of the players are like me and I think I could fit in a place like that with no problem.
"The first trip to Notre Dame was for a junior day. The coaches hadn't seen my film, so I didn't get the attention that others probably got and I didn't get some of my questions answered, but the second time was a lot different. They showed me a lot of attention at the practice. It was great to see how the players interacted. They're a team that will contend for the national title in a couple years. Look at their recruiting class, they already have 12 commitments."
While on his last visit to South Bend, Beal had a chance to sit down with coach Brown and discuss the scheme Brown has brought to Notre Dame.
"They said that I can play any of the linebacker positions," Beal explained. "But they said that they like me right in the middle, so I can move sideline to sideline and plug everything coming up the middle. I watched tape with coach Brown and there were some interesting schemes that Notre Dame hadn't done in the past. It was pretty interesting. It's nice to see Notre Dame bring in a guy like him, that is creative and that will do some unique things.
"Everyone has their own schemes, their own calls, so it's interesting to see the variety of playbooks and how they go about it. At some schools they stick with the standard defense, but at other schools they use what they have. There are only a few schools that bring that pro mentality to their defense and that is what coach Brown is doing.
"There are six or seven schools that are still on my mind, but Notre Dame is still right in the hunt," Beal said. "Notre Dame is one of the schools that I have the most contact with. Coach Brown text messages me a lot. It's a great staff."
The main group of schools Beal will focus on are USC, Boston College, Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Miami and LSU. Before he does make a decision, he'd like to make several more visits.
"I'm contemplating things right now," Beal said of the timing of his decision. "There are a couple schools that are separating themselves in my head. I'm a little tired and drawn out from all the traveling. I've seen almost all the schools that I wanted to see.
"This summer I might take a second unofficial visit down to Florida. I was planning on deciding on my birthday (October 12). If I feel it, I could announce my decision sometime this summer, but I want to take some official visits to my final couple schools before I make my decision. I'm hoping I'll have a decision by my birthday."