Had Joe Belden picked up his mail sooner, the 2015 Indiana prospect probably would have already took in a game at Notre Dame Stadium, but as it is, he’ll be in South Bend in a few weeks and he’s plenty excited.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end/linebacker received invitations to all of the Irish’s remaining home games last week. The mail was actually sent earlier, but with Avon High School on fall break, Belden didn’t get it until he went to school for a workout.
“I actually got it before the USC game because it said to come to the USC game, Navy game or BYU game,” said Belden, who added he probably would have attended the Irish’s primetime showdown against USC a couple weeks ago.
“That would have been a real fun game to go to. I was at Cincinnati for their game. It was pretty cool, but I definitely would have picked the Notre Dame game over the Cincinnati game.”
Instead, Belden will be at the Irish’s game against the Cougars on Nov. 23rd.
“I feel like it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Not everyone gets the chance to go to Notre Dame. I’m really blessed and it’s humbling. I really want to see what the guys do, what their pregame routine is.
“Obviously they’re a really prestigious program. Notre Dame is probably one of the best academic schools in the nation and it would be great to go experience a game. It would be great to go to school there, it’d be amazing.”
Belden has a close friend who is an athlete at Notre Dame.
“My best friend, Austin Burgett, plays basketball for Notre Dame,” said Belden. “I’ve been up to a couple of games with him and stayed the night in his dorm. I love the campus, a lot of great people there. It’s really cool.”
Belden is still waiting on his first offer, but is also receiving interest from schools like Florida State, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Iowa, Iowa State, Indiana and Miami-Ohio among others. He worked out in front of the Irish coaches this summer.
“I met with Coach (Mike) Elston and Coach (Brian) Kelly at the Rising Stars Camp and they seemed like real nice guys,” Belden said. “I think I did pretty well. I know I didn’t lose a one-on-one and Coach Elston remembered my name. He saw me when I walked in and it was pretty cool because he knew everything about me. I thought it was pretty cool that he showed interest in me.”
The junior prospect thinks he’ll probably end up at linebacker at the next level.
“I’m probably more projected to play linebacker in college and I see myself playing more linebacker,” he said. “In my high school defense, they can bounce me out to outside linebacker because I play in space, I’m pretty mobile. I can also go down in the trenches and muscle up with guys. It might be different in college because I’m not as big.”
Belden will be thinking about his long-term future when it comes to making a decision on a college.
“How I can get a job after college because football doesn’t last forever. How I can do the best for my family after college. You’re going to need to get a job and I just want to be able to support my family. Definitely academics. The coaching staff is really big for me because I’m going to be around them the most.”