Burton: "It All Came True"

Through the recruiting process, Notre Dame wasn't always at the top of Clay Burton's list of schools, but after taking an unofficial visit to South Bend, there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to be a part of the Notre Dame tradition.

Friday afternoon Clay Burton (6-foot-3.5, 225-pounds)became Notre Dame's 10th commitment to the 2011 recruiting class and the first commitment since Matt Hegarty pledged to the Irish on April 28.

"I emailed coach Alford and he set me up with a time to call him," Burton recalled. "When I got in touch with coach Alford they were having their camp and fortunately coach Cooks and coach Diaco were in the same area. I told them that I was committing to them 100 percent and I asked them what they needed from me.

"The next day I called coach Kelly in the morning and he said that he was proud of me and that he was happy that I made the decision. I was good talking to all the guys again."

Unlike his fellow 2011 classmates Tony Springmann and Conor Hanratty, Burton didn't grow up dreaming of playing at Notre Dame. In fact, it wasn't until recently that Clay really opened up to the thought of wearing the gold helmet.

"I can't really describe it," Burton explained. "I really didn't grow up thinking that Notre Dame was the place to be. But when I got older and more mature, I thought about it and figured out that it wasn't all about playing football and making it to the NFL. I just figured that I needed to go to the best school, especially since it's free. Just knowing the prestige and the tradition, that kind of did it.

"When everyone thinks about Notre Dame, they think about prestige. I'm just honored to go to school there. When I made the trip up there, meeting with coach Kelly and having meetings with coach Alford and coach Diaco… and building a relationships with every single coach. After looking at the academic side of it, and the football part of it and being in the lock room and being on the empty field. Then hanging out with the players, feeling that I actually fit in with them, and they're my type of kids. It was all that stuff that culminated into the fact that I didn't want to be anywhere else."

"When you go to these other schools and you think that might be the place for you. Everyone tells you that it's cold (in South Bend) and that I'll be away from my family and friends and stuff like that. But I just felt like, if I'm going to go away for college why not go to Notre Dame with the combination of academics and athletics. You just can't beat it. I was close to going to some other schools and even thought about pulling the trigger, but I knew that I had to hold off until I visited Notre Dame. Finally when I made the visit it all came true.

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