Change At the Top for Burton

Clay Burton wanted to visit Notre Dame in March, but family plans sidetracked that visit. This weekend, the linebacker from Venice High School (Venice, Fla.) did make an unofficial visit to South Bend and he walked away with a very strong impression of the Irish football program.

Clay Burton (6-foot-3.5, 225-pounds) had a chance to meet with all the Notre Dame coaches this weekend, but the 45-minute meeting he had with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly left a lasting impression on him.

"We really didn't talk about football," Burton said of his conversation with Kelly. "We really talked about my character and how they thought I'd fit with the program, and how I'd benefit their campus. It was just a real good talk, and I was really impressed with him. I feel that I can really trust him. He made a good first impression.

"Coach Alford's a first-class guy too. We spent a good amount of time together. He's funny, but he can be serious at the same time. He was pumped up about me being there."

With Burton being from sunny Florida, there's generally a concern about how they would adapt to the winters in Northern Indiana. It wasn't a huge concern for Burton, but after speaking with a few current players, weather is a non-issue.

"I was talking to Ian Williams who's from Orlando (Fla.) about (the weather), but with Manti (Te'o) and Robby Toma it's even more impressive because they came from Hawaii. If they can deal with the cold, then I can definitely deal with the cold.

"We just chilled the whole time. They were cool kids, and I just fit in with them. It was a perfect fit. We all had the same things in common, and they all had the common goal of winning a national championship. That's what I'm all about. I just fit in, there's nothing more that I can say.

Like most recruits that make it to campus, Burton was given a tour of the athletic facilities as well as Notre Dame Stadium.

"There's so much tradition. I was really impressed with everything," he said. "I went to the locker room and then we went on the field and I was just at to a loss for words. Standing on the field was awesome. I liked everything about it. It was a perfect visit.

"Notre Dame is definitely No. 1 right now. They've taken that over with this visit. It's probably Notre Dame, Clemson and Georgia Tech right now, but Notre Dame is definitely No. 1.

"It was the whole experience I had with my uncle," Burton said. "We've been on three trips together and this was definitely the most impressive one." Top Stories