When Shaquelle Evans and one of his Inglewood (Calif.) High coaches arrived on Notre Dame's campus Friday afternoon, they saw signs letting the four-star receiver know just how much he is wanted in South Bend. Later that night at the pep rally, Evans heard his name chanted by Irish football fans. On game day, there were more signs, and he even signed autographs.
"I didn't see all the signs, but I heard there was a lot of them," the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Evans said.
"It just shows how passionate they are about the football team. They'll do whatever it takes to show a recruit like myself a good time, and that they care about them. It makes you think hard about that place because they must really need you and want you, since they went through all the trouble of doing that."
Evans, a soft verbal commit to USC, was taking in the Notre Dame campus for the first time.
"It was good," Evans said. "It was different than other places.
"It was just, the togetherness of the whole school. Everybody is into the football program, the students, the teaching staff, everybody at the game, the students stand up the whole game and cheer no matter what goes on.
"On game day there isn't a lot of drunk people walking around like at other places. It's a good atmosphere."
"They weren't trying to pressure you with anything," Evans said. "Like coach (Charlie) Weis, they just let you see the place. They just said Notre Dame just felt like the best place for them."
Now they're hoping Evans eventually realizes the same thing. The trip was definitely better than what he was expecting.
"I really can," Evans said when asked if he could see himself at Notre Dame. "I like it there. I just felt like I could fit in there. I like a quiet place, not a lot of attention, nice and quiet. It's not as big as most places, you can walk to class easily, you don't have to walk all over the place. I could see myself there. I really like it."
It's easy to see why a lot of schools like Evans. As a junior, he caught 37 passes for 700 yards and six touchdowns, racking up scholarship offers from the likes of USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, California, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan and Oklahoma.
Evans liked what he saw from the Notre Dame offense in the 38-21 victory over Purdue.
"They started off a little slow, but as the game went on they picked it up," Evans began. "They ran the ball real well. They rushed for like 200 yards and passed for 300 yards. A lot of receivers touched the ball.
"The offense is young. A lot of freshmen and sophomores. If they can do that now, imagine the next two or three years if I join them and other recruits, they could be great. Once they get more experience they'll be great."
Evans had one of his coolest experiences when the Notre Dame students threw him up in the air for pushups following an Irish score.
"That was fun. I didn't think I would do that. That was real fun. I did it when they scored 14.
"The students asked me and I was like sure why not. They picked me up and started throwing me in the air."
Evans watched the team walk-thru on Friday and he got some one-on-one time with receivers coach Rob Ianello.
"He was just telling me the game plan and stuff like that, and how I can come in and help. He said if I come in, he'll put me in the best position where I can get on the field the quickest."
Before leaving on Sunday, Evans got to sit down with Weis for 30 minutes.
"It was cool just talking to him, just hearing his outlook on the whole trip and his outlook on my decision and things like that," Evans explained.
"He didn't try to sell it. He just lets you see the place. If you like it, you like it, if you don't you don't. If you feel like it's the place for you, he said you should come here. He lets you see the place, and shows you the best time he can, and the players show you the best time they can, and if you like it, you like it, if you don't you don't."
At the moment, Evans doesn't have any other official visits scheduled.
"I might go on one or two more, that's it," Evans stated. "I'm not taking all five, I know that."