Now, Justin McCay is arguably the best player in the country.
"It feels good, but at the same time, it's hard work paying off," the five-star receiver from Shawnee Mission, Kan., said.
It's certainly paid off with scholarship offers. Places like Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee have offered the explosive 6-foot-4, 200-pound playmaker, and this past weekend, McCay got a chance to really evaluate the Irish program.
"It was tight, it was tight, it was tight," McCay said. His coach at Bishop Miege High, is former Notre Dame offensive lineman Tim Grunhard.
McCay arrived on Saturday, just before the Blue-Gold game, and left on Sunday morning.
"Two years ago, I never thought I'd be recruited by Notre Dame," he said.
"I got in about game time. I went through the tunnel and saw the players warm up. It was a good game. It was cool.
"The atmosphere was great, the alumni here are really ridiculous."
Sitting in front of McCay at the spring game was former Irish quarterback and NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana. The two spoke about football.
"Actually, I was talking to coach Grunhard on the phone, and Joe Montana was sitting in the row in front of us, so I gave him my phone so he could talk to him."
Following the game, McCay toured the campus and facilities before catching up with a few players on the team.
"I enjoyed meeting everybody and hanging out with the players, because I've never done that before, get a players point of view," McCay explained. "It was tight.
"I hung out with Deion Walker and (Michael) Floyd and people like that. I hung out with everyone. I seen a bunch of linemen.
"They told me things they liked about it, and what's good about it and stuff. Like the fan base is good, the alumni and stuff like that. I liked how they were real about it. I liked Deion, he was real tight."
McCay didn't get a chance to meet with Charlie Weis on Sunday because the Notre Dame head coach had an engagement with his daughter. He is looking forward to talking with Weis on the phone soon about his visit.
Receivers coach Rob Ianello was able to show McCay a lot of attention.
"I talked to him about academics and football and stuff. He sees me as a big slot that can get in the seams, or as a guy that if you one-on-one me, I'm going to score."
McCay is still targeting a college decision after his senior season, but said that could still change. He is also saying he has no early favorites.
"I don't have no rankings as of right now," McCay said. "I don't know, I have to get that out and cut my list down soon.
"Notre Dame will definitely be one of my final schools. I liked it. It wasn't just the atmosphere. Everything else was very nice. It was very warm and welcoming. It was a good feeling visiting up there, but I want to see how it feels after visiting other places."