There will be some kind of buzz in South Bend this weekend and particularly on Saturday.
ESPN's College GameDay crew will be on campus for Saturday night's Notre Dame-Connecticut Big East Showdown. The students will be pumped and the atmosphere will be alive.
Irish head coach Charlie Weis and his staff have quite a list of distinguished guests they'll be hosting for all the festivities.
Irish Eyes has confirmed with several prospects, that they will indeed be at Notre Dame on Saturday to meet with their potential position coach, check out the campus and facilities, and get to know the entire staff and people connected to the school a little better.
Christian Lombard, a five-star offensive tackle, from Palatine, Ill., will be making his first visit to Notre Dame's campus as a verbal commit. Lombard made his Irish pledge at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 3rd.
"I made the decision, I'll let them know why I made the decision, and tell them I think it's a good place," Lombard said of his future recruiting efforts the day he verbally committed.
Besides the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Lombard, a few other players with Notre Dame scholarship offers will also be in attendance.
Chance Carter will be seeing Weis for the second time in one week. Weis made a visit to the 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end's school, and the Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.) standout will return the favor.
Carter, who has four offers, would like to make a decision early, and the Irish are definitely among his favorite programs. Carter camped in South Bend this past summer, and attended the Michigan game during the fall.
Another Illinois standout, Corey Cooper, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver from Maywood, is a soft verbal commit to the Illini, but will check out Notre Dame for the second time. He also camped over the summer, and keeps in regular touch with the Irish staff. Cooper has four scholarship offers.
One of the best players in the state of Tennessee, 6-foot-5, 295-pound James Stone, will visit Notre Dame for the first time. The offensive tackle was very excited to pick up his Irish offer earlier this month.
Quarterback Devin Gardner, Scout.com's top-ranked player in the state of Michigan, was offered a scholarship by Weis this past Monday. He is still deciding between attending Notre Dame's junior day on Saturday, or Ohio State's on Sunday. Gardner did visit South Bend for camp this summer, and for the Michigan game this fall.
Top-100 player C.J. Fiedorowicz is also expected back at Notre Dame. The four-star tight end from Johnsburg (Ill.) High visited once this past summer, and came back for the Michigan game with Carter.
At Notre Dame's junior day last year, five-star offensive lineman and current verbal commit Chris Watt picked up his scholarship offer personally from Weis. There are plenty of hopefuls looking for the same thing on this trip.
Four-star receiver Tai-ler Jones, a Scout.com top-100 recruit from Gainesville, Ga., will be making the 10-hour ride up with his father Andre, a former Notre Dame defensive end who played on the Irish's 1988 National Championship team. Jones has double-digit scholarship offers, and has been visited by Notre Dame assistant coach Jon Tenuta twice at his school this winter. The 6-foot, 174-pound speedy playmaker visited the school for the first-time ever for the Michigan game, and is hoping to see some of the same things on this trip that made his father choose the school a long time ago.
Another four-star receiver and Scout.com top-100 player, Daniel Smith, who lives five minutes from Notre Dame's campus, will also be in attendance. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver took in every Irish home game this past season, and also camped. He will be late to the junior day because of the SATs. Smith has been offered by Indiana, and is expecting one soon from Purdue.
Another one of Indiana's top players, Blake Lueders, will be making the trip to Notre Dame for the first time as a recruit. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end prospect from Zionsville, has attended several games in the past, and has recently seen interest from the Irish staff pickup. A Notre Dame coach recently visited the school, and shortly after that, requested transcripts. Lueders is up to eight scholarship offers.
Aramide Olaniyan, one of the top outside linebackers on the East Coast, will be visiting South Bend for the first time. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound standout from Woodberry Forest (Va.) School has five scholarship offers, and was recently in touch with Tenuta. Tenuta told Olaniyan they were impressed with his film and they wanted to get a good look at him in person at junior day.
Pittsburgh offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach will also be making his first-ever trip to Notre Dame. Dieffenbach has already been offered by the Panthers, and was being recruited by former Irish offensive line coach John Latina. Dieffenbach said he is looking forward to meeting the new o-line coach Frank Verducci, and seeing how he fits in at the school.
Defensive lineman Beau Allen will be making his first-ever visit to Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3, 288-pound Minnetonka, Minn., product was visited by Irish assistant coach Rob Ianello late in the fall, and Allen was hoping to make a trip for the Syracuse game. That fell through, but now he's excited to be coming to South Bend. Allen has three scholarship offers.
Four-star Connecticut linebacker Khairi Fortt is reporting double-digit offers. He told Irish Eyes in San Antonio that he'd like to make the trip for junior day.
Stay tuned to Irish Eyes for a list of more potential visitors for junior day.