Kyle Prater and his father were in the stands at Notre Dame Stadium for the Blue-Gold game, capping the Irish's spring camp. The five-star standout from Proviso West (Hillside, Ill.), also got another chance to talk with head coach Charlie Weis.
"I learned a lot," Prater said. "Some things I heard again. Coach Weis stressed the fact that the best players play, and if a freshman is better than a senior, he'll play.
"That was one of the things that stood out. I wasn't really concerned with the playing time and the roster. I know wherever I go, I know I'll come in and make an impact on the team and work hard for that position."
That was evident on Friday nights last fall. This past season, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Prater had 60 receptions for 948 yards and nine touchdowns. He later showed out at the U.S. Army National Combine, and has since earned scholarship offers from places like Oklahoma, Penn State, Michigan, California, Auburn, Stanford, and of course Notre Dame.
Prater's cousin is former Irish quarterback/receiver Carlyle Holiday. He attended the Syracuse game last fall, and picked up his Notre Dame scholarship offer at a junior day in January.
"This trip to Notre Dame, I basically wanted to get out there and see the team as a whole, see how they came together during the spring, and see what the environment was like for the spring game," Prater explained. "It's not far from home, so I came down here to have a good time, and I did that. It was nice."
So was his conversation with Weis.
"He stressed a couple things," Prater began. "He said some people come to Notre Dame to play football for Notre Dame, but when you come here, academics are always stressed. He said football will be there, but that degree you take away will always standout. He said a pro career can only last so long, and that degree means something and you'll always have something to fall back on, and that's something that I'm looking at hard. There is a lot of things going into my decision, but that's one of the things that I'm looking at."
Prater says he's completely open regarding the recruiting process, and won't make a decision until after his senior season. Irish fans gave Prater a taste of what to expect if he does indeed decide Notre Dame is the place for him.
"Man, my wrist is killing me right now," Prater laughed. "I've been signing autographs everywhere I go. A lot of kids looked up to me, and when I was a kid I looked up to a lot of people, so it was cool and real humbling.
"The fans are great down there. The game was great and the environment was cool. I had a nice little time."