Irish Add Councell to 2011 Class

Notre Dame added another top prospect to its 2011 recruiting class. Linebacker Ben Councell from A. C. Reynolds High School (Asheville, N.C.) committed to the Notre Dame coaching staff Sunday afternoon and made his intentions known today. Councell is the 12th verbal commitment for Brian Kelly.

Notre Dame received a verbal commitment from the No. 28 ranked outside linebacker in the country by Ben Councell made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame just over a week ago, and named the Irish his leader shortly after leaving campus. After a midweek visit to Georgia Tech, Councell decided he was ready to end his recruitment.

"I visited most of the schools that I was considering UNC, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and went to Notre Dame," Councell said. "When I went to Notre Dame, I felt excellent about Notre Dame. It was just a great trip, but after every recruiting trip you feel like ‘that's' the place for you. But Notre Dame was different. I loved it, and my dad loved it.

"I was ready to commit right away, but my dad said, 'Let's go home and think about. Let's take that trip to Georgia Tech and maybe another trip.' I went to Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech was a good trip, but on the way back, Notre Dame was still in the back of my mind.

"I sat down with my parents yesterday and we ran down everything," he explained. "Football was starting today, so I was trying to get it (my decision) out of the way before football started. I asked them if it was okay if I went ahead and committed to Notre Dame. My dad was fine with it. My mom was like, ‘Yeah we'll go ahead with it.' It just felt like the perfect fit for me. Georgia Tech had some pieces, but there were just a few more pieces that fit in at Notre Dame. Driving back I just felt that Notre Dame was the spot for me."

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson and his staff did a very good job recruiting Councell and they made his decision a little more difficult than Ben had expected, but in the end the Notre Dame coaching staff just made a stronger case for Ben.

"Both schools had great coaching staffs," Councell explained. "Notre Dame sat me down and broke down the defense for me. It was the whole defensive staff for about two and a half hours of just explaining the spot that they want me to play. They took me on a tour. The facilities were great. I met a lot of the players and they were awesome guys that I felt that I could fit in with.

Out of all the colleges that recruited me, coach Elston did the best job of keeping in touch with, not just me, by my dad on a regular basis; Forming relationships with my parents and myself and my coaching staff here at Reynolds. He was outstanding. Communication has been the key and he did all that. When I was up there, he answered all of my questions. I didn't leave the visit with any unanswered questions.

"The whole coaching staff said that it was their dream to coach at Notre Dame," he said. "The coaching staff at Notre Dame is what I want. I don't want a coaching to recruit me, form a relationship and then leave within two years. You never know with college football today, but this is what the coaching staff loves. They love it up there. They love the facilities up there. They just love everything about Notre Dame. That was a key right there."

"All the advice I've gotten through recruiting, go somewhere you feel comfortable. You'll just know. Two weeks ago I really had no idea it would be this. I had my top five schools, but it just felt right at Notre Dame.

"Mom was pushing academics and they're really good. The only downside was the distance, but they were like the money weren't saving for not having to pay for college, we'll be more than happy to fly over and watch you play your games."

One game of particular interest to the Councell's will be the 2012 Notre Dame-Navy contest that will be played in Dublin, Ireland.

"My grandparents live in Ireland, so that was a cool thing to find out that Notre Dame would be playing in Ireland," Ben said. "Them playing Navy in Dublin was an awesome part of it. Just the diversity of them playing all over, playing different teams. They're not playing all of the same teams every year.

"That's what Notre Dame has done and that's something unique about Notre Dame. They have their rivalries and that's a big thing, but you're going to play different teams every year. They used to play UNC, so you never know, maybe they'll play down here again." Top Stories