James Onwualu has been committed to Notre Dame since March and the Minnesota wide receiver has never wavered in that decision, but Tuesday gave him even more assurance that he made the right choice as he had the opportunity to host Irish head coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin for an in-home visit.
“It was so much fun,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder from St. Paul, Minn., said. “They just came off like they were good friends, good family. It was like having dinner with family, it wasn’t like a recruiting trip.”
Onwualu is finished with high school and set to enroll at Notre Dame in January, but he still visited Cretin-Derham Hall with his future coaches.
“When I brought them out to the school, they just had fun meeting everybody,” Onwualu said. “They were really cool about meeting everybody. They weren’t like, ‘Oh, let’s just go back here and talk with your coach.’ They were open to hanging out with all my friends and talking to everybody.”
Onwualu was proud to have his future coaches just hanging out with his friends at school.
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s the Brian Kelly, it’s the head coach of the number one team in the nation. Coach Martin is the offensive coordinator of the number one team in the nation. No kid in my position could ask for anything more. There are some people who don’t really understand the significance of that, but obviously I do and a lot of people that I’m close to understand that.
“Then when we came back to my house, it wasn’t awkward at all. We sat down and talked like we’ve known each other forever. It was a lot of fun.”
Both Onwualu and the Notre Dame coaches are pleased with the commitment level of the other side.
“We were talking about the fact that me and a lot of the other commits were committed before their success this season,” said Onwualu. “I think that shows just how much I really believe in them and believe that they’re going to take care of me and make sure I’m at the place I need to be.”
Onwualu was joined by his mother and trainer Ted Johnson, who also worked with former Irish great Michael Floyd.
“My trainer knew them because of Mike obviously,” Onwualu said. “My mom was nervous beforehand. She wanted it to be perfect. She was trying to make it like the top restaurant in the nation. I just told her to make it like she makes food for me and to just make them feel at home. She settled in a lot when she saw how comfortable they were and how it wasn’t just going to be all football talk and business.
“They pretty much just laid back and hung out like they were hanging out at their own house. She felt comfortable after that.”