Notre Dame Is A Contender For Custis

A little groggy for a second or two from his nap on the car ride home from South Bend to his home in Columbus, Ohio, Davon Custis perked right up when asked about his official visit to Notre Dame.

"It was great," Davon Custis said of the weekend.

Here's how great it really was.

Custis, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound four-star defensive end out of St. Francis DeSales, has stated publicly for quite some time that Boston College was his clear leader. Now the Eagles' program has company at the top.

"I thought this trip, it makes me rethink my decision," Custis said.

The same is true for Custis' mother Novecia. The two were at Notre Dame from Friday until Sunday morning, attending the Irish football banquet, and taking in the campus as a whole for a couple of days. Both visited the school back in September for the Michigan game, but in eight hours, they didn't have much time to soak in everything that Notre Dame is about.

"It went really, really well," Novecia Custis began. "This visit went much better because we had the time to get to know the coaching staff, the students, and the faculty and the players. Because of that, a better relationship was built. We had the time to get to know each other.

"We had spent a lot of time at Boston College, so we really built pretty good relationships there. I think from my perspective, I got to know Notre Dame a lot better and there certainly is a lot of competition to Boston College because we were able to spend the time to get to know the school a lot better.

"Getting around campus, talking to the students, seeing how they support each other as a family, is comparable to what we saw at Boston College. Another thing that makes Boston College appealing is it has the same sense of family as DeSales, and we see that Notre Dame does too.

"That kind of puts us in a dilemma."

While Notre Dame and Boston College are now the leaders, other programs still get the chance to impress Custis and make a pitch of their own. Custis will visit Northwestern next weekend, and in early January, he will take in Stanford for the first time. He has already visited Wisconsin, and looks to make a decision shortly after his visit to Palo Alto, Calif.

"To me, and I think what Davon is saying, (Notre Dame) really has become a strong contender, and now everyone else is going to have to step up and knock those two off the top," Novecia Custis said.

Custis himself was briefly at a loss for words when asked how he would make the tough decision between Notre Dame and Boston College, or any of his other three favorites.

"I just have to figure out after I go on all my trips, the positives and negatives of each trip, that's what I'll to base it on," he explained.

Sounds like there wasn't too many negatives from this trip.

Custis and his mother arrived at Notre Dame around noon on Friday.

"I thought the people were nice," Custis said. "Also, I liked the business part about it, the academics."

At the banquet on Friday night, Custis sat with the other recruits in attendance, and both he and his mother were impressed by guest speaker Joe Theismann.

"I liked his words, saying make the most of what you want, be nice to people," Custis said of the former Notre Dame and NFL quarterback. "I thought that was good."

"He really spoke about not believing your own hype," Novecia Custis said. "That was a really well delivered speech, especially to the young men in today's atmosphere, about how they think they're Gods because they play football. He was like no you're not! More young men need to hear that."

Following the banquet, Custis caught up with his host, freshman defensive end Darius Fleming, and spent some time with other current Notre Dame football players.

"He was showing me around the campus," Custis said. "I thought he was really cool. He was just trying to say how big a family it was there."

While Custis was doing that, his mother was hanging out with the parents of a few Notre Dame verbal commits that also attended the banquet, including Alex Bullard's family.

"I think that was my favorite part," she said.

"It was an apples-to-apples talk about how their child came about choosing Notre Dame. Some always wanted to go there, and others came to their decision in a round-about-way, like what Davon is doing. We talked with them about the reason why their kids decided to go to Notre Dame. Some of it was proximity, which is not an issue for me, I'm not going to get in the way of a great education anywhere. For others, it was a sense of belonging and the appeal."

On Saturday, Custis got up and ate in the dining hall. He watched the football team practice, toured the facilities, which he called The Gug "beautiful," met with the strength and conditioning staff and some academic people. At night, he had dinner in the press box.

"I thought that was cool because the snow was falling, and in the stadium, it did look like a snow globe with the snow. The snow was just circling the stadium."

Custis got some one-on-one time with defensive line coach Jappy Oliver, who will be visiting Custis on Thursday.

"He said basically if I went there, they could definitely use me. Basically If I play well, there is a chance I could start a couple games my freshman year. They said the problem with the d-line, they don't have all four guys pressuring the quarterback, and I could be one of the guys pass rushing."

All the coaches did their part in recruiting Custis.

"They said next year, they said they would be good. Two years from now, they should be great. The coaches said this would be the best time to come in as a freshman to be on a great team."

Another highlight of the trip was the one-on-one discussion with head coach Charlie Weis.

"He was basically telling me the reason I should go there," Custis said. "Basically, if I went here, graduating with a Notre Dame degree would set me up for life. And because basically, if you feel like you belong here, you should go here.

And…

"Actually I did feel like I belonged at Notre Dame."

Weis' talk was Novecia Custis' second-favorite part of the trip.

"He is a nice straight-forward guy," she stated. "I've been taking the task of myself being straightforward, pulling no punches, and he's the same kind of guy and I can appreciate that. Sometimes you just need to hear facts.

"I loved it when (the media) were coming at him like wolves, and he was like this is how it is period. I know if my son were to go to Notre Dame, he would mean what he says and do what he says. You wouldn't have to guess what's on his mind or what his objective is. It's real refreshing to have somebody that is very direct."


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