Arik Armstead is a busy guy.
The 6-foot-7, 280-pound five-star defensive lineman is in the midst of trying to lead his Pleasant Grove High School (Elk Grove, Calif.) squad to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Sectional title over Granite Bay on Saturday afternoon while juggling a recruiting process packed with a string of in-home visits and official visits.
Armstead can’t look ahead to basketball season yet, but that’s what is waiting for him as soon as football is finished and he’s doing it all while juggling a pair of online classes that will provide him the option of enrolling early at the school of his choice should he choose to do so.
Even with a life-changing decision looming, Armstead is able to keep a low profile by concentrating on his schoolwork and his game on Saturday.
“He’s just focusing on that,” a source close to him told Irish Sports Daily.
Still when he can, he’s also playing an active role in his recruitment, which has been pretty active.
Armstead has already taken official visits to Notre Dame, Alabama and Oregon with a host of schools lining up to grab the final two visits. This week alone, he’s hosted coaches from Notre Dame, California and USC. Auburn and Washington will be in soon and new Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is also trying to get in to see him next week.
The source said the Notre Dame presentation from head coach Brian Kelly and West Coast recruiter Mike Denbrock on Monday went well. The two coaches stressed the tradition of the school coupled with the “the quality of the education and the holistic approach, just putting everything together for you as a person.”
With Armstead’s size, the Irish believe he’d be a good fit in their defensive scheme that could be plugged in to be a game-changer right away. Kelly and Denbrock also talked about how Armstead would have the ability to play hoops in college as well, something Armstead intends to do.
But perhaps most importantly, the Irish coaches explained how they felt he fit in well with the current members of the team when he visited South Bend for the USC game last month. This wasn’t lost on Armstead as he got that sense when he was at Notre Dame.
“Arik said he felt like he fit in well with the guys,” the source said. “He felt it was a real positive place and a positive experience.”
Armstead is still trying to work out a firm date for an official visit to Texas with Oregon, California, Washington, USC and Auburn fighting for the final one. The source says the Trojans are still in the hunt after Armstead decommitted from USC last month.
Even with schools fighting to stay in the race and others – like Arizona – trying to get in it, the family feels comfortable enough with the schools they’re looking at now to be close to narrowing it down again soon, possibly to as few as three.
It remains to be seen if the Irish make the cut, but they’re certainly fighting to do so.