It hasn't been quite that long, but today, they finally arrive on the South Bend campus, college men.
Kyle Rudolph verbally committed to play football for Irish head coach Charlie Weis back in March 2007, becoming the fifth player to join what ended up being the nation's second-ranked recruiting class.
"I know we've all been excited and talking about it since we committed over a year ago, and now the day is finely here where we get together as a team," Rudolph said.
Though the Cincinnati product knows the new life will take some time getting used to, Rudolph thinks he's ready.
The nation's top-ranked tight end got his Notre Dame playbook and workout training regiment shortly after signing his letter-of-intent in February, and has been hard at work ever since.
"After reading through the playbook and looking forward, it's just football but different terminology," Rudolph explained. In his final prep season, the Elder High standout had 37 catches for 667 yards and 11 touchdowns, garnering scholarship offers from top programs across the country. "It's all stuff I've seen before and ran before, you just have to learn what they call it.
"It's a scaled down version (of our offense). It does a lot where the tight end is flexed out and in tight, so I'm not always just a blocker or a pass catcher."
And at 6-foot-7, 248 pounds, Rudolph reports to school nearly the max size the Notre Dame coaching staff ever wants him at.
"They said I'll never be bigger than 255," Rudolph stated.
"For me it's gone really well," Rudolph said of strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza's workout plan. "I went through it. It's like an eight-week thing. I did my first eight weeks and gained tremendous strength. I restarted it and got six weeks through it.
"I came right out of basketball, where I rarely lifted. I put on 10 pounds my first week, and I think I increased my bench and squat over 50 pounds each over the first four weeks."
Rudolph is going to need every bit of strength as he tries to earn a spot on the field this fall. He and classmate Joseph Fauria will try and push tight ends Mike Ragone and Will Yeatman for playing time.
"I want to take advantage of all my opportunities," Rudolph said. "Obviously, I have expectations to get on the field, but whatever happens, happens. I just want to take advantage of everything I can."That attitude in Rudolph was easy to see in San Antonio.
At the U.S. Army All-American game, Rudolph was asked to be more of a blocker than pass catcher. If there was any knock on Rudolph's game, it was his blocking, so he embraced the challenge.
"With our quarterbacks, we had three running quarterbacks, so they set our offense up as a spread offense and it was pretty much let the quarterbacks make something happen for the wide receivers, and the tight ends were a sixth offensive linemen. It was frustrating because you want to catch passes and do all that stuff, but at the same time it was an honor to be down there and be with the guys.
"I used that as an opportunity to show people that I could block."
As Rudolph begins summer school this week, the opportunities seem endless.