"They want me to come play up there," the 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle said. "They tell me it's the best education I can get, and it's a good school to play for. They also want to see more of me than they do."
It might not be too long before J.C. Lanier personally hears from an Irish coach, as Notre Dame has been sending quite a bit of mail lately.
In the mean time, Lanier, who will be one of the best players in the state in the class of 2009, is getting a lot of attention from quite a few other programs. Clemson and Georgia Tech have already offered scholarships, however with Chan Gailey being let go, the full-ride to Atlanta is up in the air. Georgia and Florida State have been in regular contact.
"I've been talking to (Florida State offensive line) coach (Rick) Trickett, and he wants me to play offensive line for him," Lanier said. He helped pave the way for classmate Washaun Ealey to run for 55 touchdowns this season with a game to go, breaking former Irish tailback Darius Walker's state record. Joining Notre Dame in flooding Lanier's mailbox has been Florida, Boston College, LSU, West Virginia, Alabama, Purdue and several others.
Lanier is interested in Florida State, but said he would much rather play defense on the next level. In helping Emanuel County Institute to the Class A state championship game for the first time in school history, Lanier has racked up 102 tackles, 30 of those coming for loss, with nine sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one blocked pass.
"I think I'm more aggressive," Lanier said when describing his style of play. He and his teammates will travel to Wilcox County for the state championship game, Friday night. "Sometimes my coach tells me I be to aggressive, but says that's not really a bad thing because he likes that I'm aggressive. Though, sometimes that hurts me on my pass rush because I breakdown and run right past the quarterback."
At least he's in good enough shape to fly by the signal-caller. Lanier has been doing quite a bit of running since the summer.
Weighing in at 344 pounds five months ago, Lanier has started running regularly and hitting the weight room hard to reshape his body.
"When I got back from the Georgia camp this summer, they said I had to lose about 20 pounds," Lanier said. "And that's what a lot of other colleges said. So I started trying to lose the weight."
And Lanier has, while maintaining a 340-pound bench press, and a 525-pound squat. He reported a 40-yard dash time of 5.5, and a GPA of 2.9.
Next time Lanier's family from South Bend sees him, they might not recognize him.
Lanier made his first and only trip to Indiana last summer for his Uncle Jimmy's wedding. It was a 14-hour drive, and he's also got a few cousins that live up in the Notre Dame area.
"We drove around the school a little bit," Lanier said. He has also been on Georgia's campus twice, and Florida's and Clemson's once. "We went around the stadium but nobody was around. We didn't see much.
"It was a huge campus. There was a lot of students still going to classes. I was thinking in one more year I'll be doing the same thing they'll be doing."
Perhaps even at Notre Dame, with the opportunity.
"I know this season didn't go too good for them," Lanier said. "I know they've had better. They had a couple quarterbacks going in and out. I don't really know too much about them.
"I wouldn't say no if they offered a scholarship. I'd be happy."
An offer could get Lanier back up to South Bend for another visit. That would for sure make his family happy.
"We might come and visit, depends on what my Dad and me come up with."
Uncle Jimmy and the rest of the family would like a guarantee.