For pretty much the first time all weekend, Hunter Bivin found himself alone.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin had one quick question to ask the 6-foot-7, 290-pound offensive lineman from Kentucky before he left the room on Saturday evening.
“We were sitting in Coach Martin’s office and he asked me what my hesitation was and what was holding me back,” recalled Bivin, a lifelong Notre Dame fan visiting South Bend for the fifth time in less than a year, but for the first time with an offer from the Irish.
“I really couldn’t give him an answer.”
When Martin exited the room, Bivin’s assistant coach Billy Cooper and his mother, Sherry Bivin, followed, leaving Bivin alone with his thoughts.
Even though he hadn’t had an answer for Martin moments earlier, one of the things holding Bivin back coming into Notre Dame's Junior Day was that he hadn’t had the chance to meet new Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
“I came up wanting to meet Coach Hiestand,” said Bivin. “I met him and got to see him in action and how he coaches and all of that. He really impressed me a lot.”
So, scratch that off the list.
Even with his mother and Cooper on the trip with him, Bivin still had a couple people he wanted advice from before pulling the trigger.
“My girlfriend and I were good friends for a long, long time before we ever started dating, so she really knows me well and knows I’ve been a huge Notre Dame,” said Bivin.
Bivin had always planned on waiting until at least his senior season to make a decision because of how the recruiting process went for his older brother, Harris, who had a scholarship yanked just days before he was set to sign with Louisville.
Bivin and his mother couldn’t stand the thought of something like that repeating itself, but Harris knew better than anyone that what happened to him wouldn’t happen to his younger brother. Harris had made those feelings known before, but a short, blunt text to Hunter reminded him one final time.
“They both gave me good bits of advice,” Hunter said of his brother and his girlfriend. “It was very important. They’re probably the most non-biased people in this whole thing. I knew their advice would be good.”
In the span of weeks, Bivin had gone from a local recruit with one offer from the in-state school to a national prospect with offers from programs like Auburn, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Penn State, Michigan, Tennessee, Miami and Vanderbilt among several others.
But it was the offer from Notre Dame which came in at the end of January that made the biggest impact on Bivin.
Cooper, also a lifelong Irish fan, had long hoped Bivin would end up at Notre Dame, but the most important thing to him was that Bivin made the right decision for Bivin, wherever that may be. Concerned that Bivin may have been feeling some pressure, Cooper returned to Martin’s office and told Bivin not to do anything if he wasn’t ready.
But Bivin was ready.
“It feels awesome,” he said afterward. “I definitely don’t have any regrets.”