Presidential Treatment

Being at Notre Dame this past weekend and watching the Irish spring game on Saturday, made Chris Martin want to skip his senior year to enroll early at his future school.

"I was talking to my parents, and I was like I wish I could graduate right now," Chris Martin said. "I hate that I have to play one more season of high school. I just want to play and get in the Notre Dame gear. I don't care if I get hit. I just want to be out there, and in front of the fans, and make something happen!"

Judging by the welcome the five-star Martin got in South Bend, there is no doubt Irish fans are wishing the same thing.

The Notre Dame coaching staff hosted roughly 20 recruits on campus this weekend, but the 6-foot-5, 241-pound defensive end from Oakland, Calif., had rockstar status.

"Right when I hit campus, I got swarmed," Martin said.

"Oh my God it was crazy. I never felt like that in my life. I've never signed so many autographs in my life. I felt like the president. I was taking pictures with babies and signing people's shirts."

It was Martin's first time back at Notre Dame since the summer, and his mother's first Irish experience.

"I want you to thank the fans for me," Cheryl Martin said. "They've been very supportive and made us feel real welcome there (on Saturday). Believe me, that told me, just the fan support of Chris, thanks for supporting him, the fan support was great, and I know this is going to work out.

"The reception was nice. I think that everyone was real nice to him. I think it's going to be good. I had this conversation with Rob Ianello and coach (Randy) Hart, and I think this going to work out."

Martin also enjoyed his time with head coach Charlie Weis, Ianello, Hart, graduate assistant Bryant Young, and the rest of the Irish coaches.

"It was good," he said. "The whole trip was good from when I got in on Friday night."

When Martin first arrived, he attended a barbeque where football players Armando Allen, Ian Williams and Brian Smith were at. As the weekend went on, he really liked hearing speeches from former Notre Dame players on campus, and meeting all the other recruits that were in town.

In fact, Martin was using his Irish fame to do some recruiting himself.

"I wasn't blatant, like you have to come here, but I was hanging out, trying to get them to see what's good about Notre Dame," Martin explained. "I was trying to take the attention I was getting from fans, and draw it towards guys like Khairi (Fortt), Cody (Riggs) and Spencer (Boyd) and them, because we need players like them. I tried to take my notoriety and swing it on them.

"I was letting them know this is how it is at Notre Dame, and they couldn't believe it. I don't think they ever experienced anything like that. It's a different experience around there. I wanted them to know they're going to get a family experience like this, and that it's not just about football."

Speaking of football, Martin liked what he saw during the Blue-Gold game, even if he couldn't be out there playing himself.

"I was really impressed," Martin stated. "I like where the team is at. There is always room for improvement, but I think they're going to have a real good season."


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