But as the recruiting evaluation period began last week, one big-time head coach was able to get through to Manti Te'o.
"When coach (Charlie) Weis called, he called my Dad's phone, and my Dad came in the front door of the house with a smile and said, ‘it's coach Charlie Weis.'"
Weis, who emails the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o on a daily basis, talked with the prospect for about 25 minutes to a half hour.
"I had a good talk with coach Weis last week, last Wednesday," Te'o began.
"Basically, the coaches can call now. He said that he wanted to make an impression on me by being one of the first coaches to get a hold of me. He didn't get a hold of me on the first day because I didn't have my phone. He contacted me the day after. We talked about the program and where I could fit in. It was a good talk."
And Weis definitely made an impression.
"I took away that coach Weis really knows what he's doing and knows what he wants, and is trying to get his program back to that level. It's just a matter of time before they get back to where they've been. Basically, he's a good man. I could tell by what he's saying that he is a great coach and knows where he wants to go with the program."
Te'o has 27 scholarship offers, from the likes of USC, UCLA, Stanford, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas A&M. The Irish are recruiting him the hardest, with assistant coach Brian Polian also sending a few emails a week.
"Notre Dame, I would have to say is one of my favorite schools, just because I know a lot about them through contact with the coaches via email," Te'o explained. "They are always in contact with me and it's not that hard to like a school if you know what they're all about."
The phone call with Weis isn't the only time Te'o has been impressed by Notre Dame's fourth-year coach.
"It's an honor," Te'o said of the daily emails from one of the faces of college football. "I just don't know what to say. When the head coach shows that level of commitment and interest, especially when he came down in January, he just came down to say hi. I was like you came all the way here to say hi? Of course rules, you can't say anything else but hi. It was really an honor for him just to come down here to say hi and he was flying back to Indiana that same day."
Te'o, who accepted an invitation to play in the ESPN Under Armour All-American game in early January, expects to make his college decision around signing day. Three of the main things he is looking for is a great education, early playing time and a college coach that supports his wishes of going on a Mormon mission.
"Also if I could have my number," Te'o said. "Coach Weis already said I could have my number if I play linebacker there. It's number five. He said the number five they have right now is on offense, so they can put a number five on defense too."
As long as Te'o and Armando Allen never play a special teams down together, that will work out perfectly for the Irish.
Te'o hasn't really begun to narrow down a list of favorites, so he really has no idea where he'll be traveling for his five official visits.
"I haven't really cut my options down yet, but it's looking good for sure," Te'o said of a trip to Notre Dame.
This past season, Te'o had 92 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also averaged 11.1 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns when classmate Dalton Hilliard, who also has a Notre Dame offer, needed to be spelled at his running back position.