Toney Hurd (5-foot-9, 185-pounds) liked what the Notre Dame coaches told him about their school prior to his official visit to South Bend, but he enjoyed his trip to South Bend more than he thought possible.
"It was much better than I expected," Hurd said of his visit to Notre Dame. "I really didn't know what to expect, but they opened my eyes. A lot of people think that Notre Dame is a school that I wouldn't really look in to, but I really like it. I like everything about it as far as tradition and as far as the people that are there. They have great people around them and the school itself is a great school. They have a great combination of athletics and academics and I love that about the school. Pretty much all my thoughts were positive leaving Notre Dame.
"Basically, what made an impression on me was the fact that I went on the tour with one of the recruiting aides and asked them a few questions. I said, ‘I know this school is great academically, but how much love do the football players get.' At a lot of the schools the football players are put on a pedestal. I'm all for that, but then again that doesn't prepare you for the real world. In the real world you're not put on a pedestal, you're put in with everybody else. They said Notre Dame football players are human beings, just like everyone else."
Hurd got to Notre Dame on Friday and was met by one of the few Texans on the Irish roster, Kapron Lewis-Moore.
"I enjoyed myself," Hurd explained. "Friday when I got there we went out to eat some steaks. They were one of the biggest steaks I'd ever eaten. Friday night we just took it easy. On Saturday we went to the game. Afterwards, we were supposed to go out with the players, but I had some homework to catch up on, so I actually went back to my hotel and caught up on some homework and basically took it easy.
"In my mind, I had already enjoyed myself after the game was over. I saw what I wanted to see. The environment during the day was a very positive environment, very family like. There were so many celebrities there. I don't know if it was planned or not, but there were so many people there that were supporting Notre Dame. A lot of the alumni were there. The fans go crazy. The student section is very interactive throughout the game. It just felt right."
Before leaving campus Tony got a chance to meet with the Notre Dame coaches and discuss his visit.
"I talked to each and every last one of the coaches before I left Sunday," Hurd said. "I met with Coach Ianello and he wants me to be comfortable before I make my final decision. He told me to pray about it and go back home and talk it over with my mother and make sure that when I make a commitment that I'm really committed to Notre Dame.
"Then I talked to Coach Brown. I sat down with him in a short little meeting and he was basically running me over different aspects of life that he could help me in, other than football, which is a plus. He told me his background and that was very inspiring. I didn't know he was so much in to football. He told me a lot about himself and I was very intrigued.
"Last but not least, I talked to Coach Weis," he said. "He said that all the football teams are possibly good in some way or another, but one thing they can't compete with is academics. Graduating from Notre Dame speaks volumes in a lot of people's eyes. He was just stressing the fact that he knows academically that I compete in the classroom, and he wants me to be able to come up there and compete athletically and academically, so I can have a bright future."
Hurd had an exceptional visit to Notre Dame, but he will likely take another visit or two before making his decision. The other schools he may visit are Ohio State, Florida State and Tennessee.