Nobody's junior day experience started before Aramide Olaniyan's did.
Olaniyan, a 6-foot-2, 201-pound outside linebacker prospect from Woodberry Forest (Va.) School, had his Irish junior day begin on the plane ride from Cleveland to South Bend.
Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Polian was seated right in front of him.
"He overheard me talking to a Dad and his son who were going to the basketball game, and he turned around and introduced himself."
Polian also prepped Olaniyan for the junior day festivities.
"He told me a little bit about the place, and said it was going to be a little cold, but I wasn't worried about that too much."
Olaniyan, who already holds five scholarship offers, and is hearing from several other top-notch programs, couldn't wait to get on Notre Dame's campus. At his South Bend hotel in the morning, watching television to pass the time before heading over for the start of things, Olaniyan turned on ESPN.
That further added to the excitement.
"College GameDay was on, and they were in South Bend, and I was in South Bend. That was the thing that got me the most excited about the day. I was in a good mood the whole day, and the way the campus looked, it reminded me of Woodberry, the way things are so close together."
Notre Dame assistant coach Ron Powlus is the one recruiting Olaniyan, who holds offers from Stanford, Boston College, Maryland, Duke and Wake Forest. Olaniyan plays defensive end, and this past season, had 60 tackles, with 27 of those coming for loss including 13 sacks. He also forced five fumbles, recovered one, and had an interception. North Carolina and Virginia Tech appear close to offering next.
Olaniyan visited with Powlus before and after the tour of the campus.
"Coach Powlus, he's just really easy to talk to," Olaniyan said. "I think he's a great guy. I had an easy time talking with him. I felt like I could be myself around coach Powlus. I didn't have to change myself.
"We talked about all sorts of things. My position with Notre Dame. He answered every single question I had. I had tons of questions and he was answering them on the spot, and then we talked about life after I got all my questions answered.
"Right now, he was just saying they like me a whole lot, and I don't think all the coaches have seen my film yet. They're going to reevaluate all my film, and I want to go to a great school, and they're a great school and great football program, so hopefully they like what they see.
"He said they're going to be a lot slower than most of the other schools are when it comes to offering."
Olaniyan was extremely impressed with the tour of the school.
"The facilities were all great. Everything looked so brand new. The Guglielmino Center was a beautiful place and the weight room, the gold weights and the floors, and I really liked the indoor practice field. Everything in there was nice. The whole campus was nice. I don't think there was a bad thing on the campus."
Olaniyan also sat in on assistant coach Jon Tenuta's presentation to the prospective front-seven recruits.
"Oh man, coach Tenuta is a great coach. He was definitely a great coach. I could just tell working with him would definitely get me prepared if there is a chance at the NFL, and just being a better linebacker."
The evening was capped off by the Notre Dame-Connecticut basketball game.
"All the students were going crazy at the gym. It was crazy and I was definitely excited about that. The game was amazing. I really enjoyed that. A lot of school spirit."
Olaniyan and Powlus have already exchanged emails since the visit, and he plans to keep in regular touch with the Irish staff. This coming weekend, he'll be at Duke's junior day, and he plans on going to future junior days at Maryland and Virginia Tech. He is hoping to make it to North Carolina and Wake Forest as well.
The flights home were nothing like the flights to South Bend for Olaniyan. He wasn't talking to anybody on the plane.
"I was sleeping like a baby," he laughed. "I knew I had to come back here and get some studying done."