An official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend did the trick.
Theo Riddick made it into South Bend with his mother, godfather, and godfather's grandfather on Saturday, just before Notre Dame's 35-17 victory over Michigan. They were able to watch the game, tour the campus some, meet some players and the coaching staff.
"I thought it was a great experience," the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Immaculata High standout stated. Riddick verbally committed to the Irish staff back in April. "I went up there before but I thought this experience was better, because I brought up my mom and she got to learn more about Notre Dame and how important academics are and football as well.
"Quote for quote, she said she loved it.
"As a parent, she was skeptical about my decision a little bit because it was far from home, but that's just parents. But when I brought her up, she loved it a lot. She got to meet the players and my position coach, and once she found out academics were such a key part, she fell in love with it because with a parent, academics are such a key part of everything."
Riddick later added that she also became a Charlie Weis fan.
Though Riddick had been to Notre Dame before, this was his first Irish football game-day experience.
"Oh man, I did see myself playing, but from a spectators point of view, it was awesome," Riddick said. "I've never been to a college football game like that. The one thing that surprised me, when it started raining like that, I thought people would leave. But the whole student body, they just took off their shirt and started screaming louder and that gave me chills."
That's not the only thing that gave Riddick chills at the game.
"I talked to Mike Golic for a little bit, introduced myself because I'm really good friends with Jake Golic. I saw Tim Brown but I didn't get to speak to him, he was on the field a lot. But seeing everyone from the 88 class, and seeing how enthused they were, it seemed like they were going to jump on the field and put on some equipment. Seeing how the alumni was into everything, that just gave me chills as well."
Notre Dame honored its 1988 National Championship team at the game, and hosted plenty of official and non-official visitors for the game from the recruiting class of 2009 and 2010. Some guys were already verbally committed to Notre Dame, and some were checking out the school beginning to really evaluate things.
Nearly all of them met and talked with Riddick.
"There was a lot of players there, and I thought my job was to be as social as possible because you don't know which ones are going to commit," Riddick explained. "I just talked to them and got to know them, because that's where you're going to spend your next four to five years."
Riddick and his entourage landed on Saturday morning, but with the steady downpour, nobody was let into the airport and they didn't get a ride to campus until just before kickoff. Flying out of town early Sunday morning wasn't any easier, with Chicago struggling with rain as well. Other than that, the trip was a huge success.
Riddick's host was freshman running back Jonas Gray.
"Oh man, he has a great personality," Riddick said. "He introduced me to a lot of students. I was more interested in the students, because obviously you're going to be with the football players everyday, like them or not. But the student body, they were down to earth. I was shocked, surprised, I was taken aback."
Riddick's senior season kicked off on Friday with a 24-6 win. His head coach called off the dogs in the third quarter with Immaculata up 24-0, because of what else, rain. Before that, Riddick had rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He also had two tackles.