Welch: "Exactly What Notre Dame Needs."

Alex Welch had a chance to meet Brian Kelly when Kelly was the head man at Cincinnati, but until last Saturday, the tight end from Elder High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) hadn't had the chance to sit down with Kelly since he took over the reigns at Notre Dame.

Being from Cincinnati, Alex Welch (6-foot-5, 225-pounds) was familiar with Brian Kelly, but the Notre Dame commitment wanted to sit down with his future head coach and get some questions answered. A week ago Welch got that chance and he liked what he heard from Kelly.

"It was a really good meeting," Welch said. "It was the first time since I got to sit down and really talk to him. I've met him before because he recruited me when he was at Cincinnati, but I really never got to sit down and talk to him. So it was enjoyable to sit down and listen to him and get to know him.

"I was really impressed with him. He's exactly what Notre Dame needs right now to get back on top. He seems really professional. I like how he was telling me that the way he runs his practices, that he's not going to wear his guys out. He said that with all that you have to adapt to with school and everything that he's not going to wear you out on the practice field, because he wants to keep you fresh for Saturdays. Overall his method for coaching is impressive."

A concern for Welch going into the meeting with Kelly was how Kelly intended to utilize the tight ends in his offense. In 2009, Cincinnati's tight ends caught nearly as many as Notre Dame did, but Kelly's spread offense has a reputation for being very friendly to wide receivers, and not quite as friendly to tight ends.

"We talked about that," Welch explained. "He said I didn't have to worry about the tight end coming out off of the field or anything like that. Even though it is the spread offense he said he uses the tight end a lot, and he wants to throw the ball to them. I think their offense was more friendly to the wide receivers this year because they had three really, really good receivers this year. You've got to throw the ball to your playmakers.

"He did say that if he had two tight ends that were good enough, that he'd like to be able to use two tight ends at times. That was good to hear. He said he sees me in the zones going down the middle. From watching UC, their tight ends didn't just run 5-6 yard patterns."

If Kelly wants to utilize double tight end sets, he'll have one of the nation's top tight ends at his disposal in Kyle Rudolph. Welch reached out to Rudolph recently to get his thoughts on the new Irish head coach.

"(Rudolph) really likes him," Welch said. "I've been texting him a lot, but two days after (Kelly) got the job, Kyle got to go out to lunch with him. Kyle said he was really excited about him and that he really liked him a lot. Kyle said (Kelly) is an exciting coach and that being around him, he seems like a really good guy and the guy Notre Dame needs right now."

Being from Cincinnati, Alex has been able to get plenty of people from the area to give their opinions of Kelly over the past couple weeks.

"I've been talking to be here," he said. "Everyone loved him here until a couple weeks ago. They're not big fans of him now, but…"


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