Blake Lueders has attended Notre Dame games for years, but that junior day was his first visit as an official Irish prospect. A couple weeks ago, Charlie Weis offered the 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end/outside linebacker a scholarship, and Lueders returned to South Bend on Friday night to see what could be in store for him.
"It was great, I really liked it," Lueders said. He came up with his mother and stayed through Saturday's practice.
"I got to get an in-depth look at Notre Dame football and everything. I just got to know the players and the coaches, and that was the best part of it."
Lueders stayed with the Irish's sophomore-to-be tight end Kyle Rudolph.
"I hung out with Kyle, Dan McCarthy, Mike Golic Jr. and Dayne Crist," Lueders said. "I liked them, and they seemed like guys I would fit in with if I went there, and it's good to know they recruit guys that I like, players like me.
"Those are the type of guys I want to be around. The people, players and coaches are the type of people I'd like to be around and play for."
Lueders has a lot of programs that would like him to play for them. He holds offers from the likes of Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Stanford, Purdue, Iowa and Northwestern. This past weekend, Weis and defensive line coach Randy Hart got to make their pitch to Lueders.
"Coach Weis is just a great guy," Lueders said. "I sat down and talked to him for about a half hour. I could tell he knew what he was talking about. He was really laid back, but I could tell he really wants to win.
"I got to sit down and talk to coach Hart for awhile, and you can definitely tell he knows football, and for his age, he's the most energetic guy I've ever met. He's a great guy."
Lueders only got to see the last 15 minutes of Notre Dame's practice on Friday, but he enjoyed the whole thing on Saturday.
"The tempo wasn't up as much because they weren't in full pads," Lueders said. "I would've liked to see full pads, but I can see myself playing there."
Lueders just isn't quite sure what position.
This past season, from his middle linebacker position, Lueders racked up 128 tackles with nine of those coming for loss including three sacks. When offered, Weis told him that he could play defensive end, outside linebacker or even fullback in an Irish uniform. On Saturday, Lueders watched the defensive line and linebackers do their work.
"I was in between," Lueders said, adding he enjoyed watching Hart work.
"You could tell he knew what he was doing and he made it fun . He has a lot of passion about it, and is just a cool guy."
Lueders met Scout.com top-100 player and Notre Dame verbal commit Daniel Smith at Saturday's practice.
"I asked why he committed, and he said he grew up in South Bend and always loved Notre Dame, and that's why he committed, which made sense."
Lueders himself, would like to be verbally committed somewhere before the start of his senior season. Over the next couple months, he has trips set up to North Carolina, Wake Forest, Stanford, Boston College and Northwestern.
On the way home, Lueders and his mother talked about Notre Dame.
"She really liked it. She said she'd be happy if I went there."