Always a bigger fan of the NFL, Prince Shembo didn't watch many games on Saturdays, until freshman year, when he figured he might be playing on the next level, and should probably get to know what these college programs are all about.
However, there was one program Prince Shembo was already quite familiar with.
Three years later, the Irish program is very aware of Prince Shembo. Last Friday, they offered the 6-foot-2, 225-pound outside linebacker/defensive end prospect from Charlotte, N.C., a scholarship.
"I was very happy," Shembo said. The Ardrey Kell High standout has also been offered by Illinois, Stanford, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Duke and East Carolina. "I was very surprised. I was going with the flow during my talk with coach (Charlie) Weis, but deep inside I was very enthusiastic about it. I was shocked. I came home from school, and all of sudden my coach called me and said Charlie Weis wants to talk to you. It just made my day."
Weis and Shembo talked for a few minutes.
"He was serious, no BS, we're only giving you an offer if you're very interested. I told him I was very interested. Growing up, that was really the only college I knew about because I went to a catholic school. It's a very historical school with a great education, so they'll be in my top five for sure."
The same can be said for Shembo's parents.
"They were very happy," he said. "That's like their top offer I have so far. My Dad said we've always liked Notre Dame from when you were younger. Like I said, we're catholic, and it's a catholic school with a lot of pros like a great education."
This past season, Shembo had 90 tackles, 10 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He said he is considering any school that wants to recruit him, and is looking to make his college decision before the start of his senior season. With a 3.7 GPA, Shembo is planning to graduate from high school early, and wants to major in economics.
"I'm looking for a great defensive scheme, education, a place where it would be a good fit for me," Shembo explained. "Good teammates I can get along with, a great coaching staff, a place where I can enjoy myself. When I step on campus, I should know, get that feeling if I like it or not."
Shembo has taken previous visits to Georgia, North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State, Clemson and South Carolina. Right now, he and his Ardrey Kell teammates are making a run through the state basketball tournament, but after that, he'll be back on the road making trips. Shembo said he could visit Notre Dame for the first time this spring.
"Maybe a spring practice," Shembo said. "We just have to get the right date because it's a long drive. Get a hotel up there and stay up there, and talk to the coaches and players and stuff, and get to know everyone."
Besides getting to know Weis a little bit on the phone, Shembo also spoke with graduate assistant Brian White and defensive coordinator Corwin Brown.
"He told me I'm explosive," Shembo said of his talk with Brown. "I'm fast for my size and I play with a lot of energy, and just to keep on having that motor. He said I remind him a lot of a freshman defensive end they have up there, I can't remember his name. And he said they have Manti Te'o coming and he'll be a good teammate to play with, and we also talked about Robert Blanton being a Charlotte native."
Since Shembo is now a college football fan, he knew everything that Brown was talking about.