Durham Smythe had planned on taking an official visit to Notre Dame the final weekend before National Signing Day, but after an in-home visit with Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker on Sunday, the Texas tight end has decided to visit Notre Dame this weekend, flip-flopping the date of his Michigan official.
“I guess this weekend, from what Coach Booker said, a lot of the remaining targets are coming in,” said the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder from Belton High School in Belton, Texas.
“In order to be in a slightly larger group, he said this weekend would be best. That’s why I decided to flip them.”
Smythe will be joined by 2013 prospects Eddie Vanderdoes, Kylie Fitts, Sebastian Larue and Deon Hollins on the South Bend campus this weekend. He said the Wolverines accommodated the change of plans without issue.
Stanford rounds out Smythe’s finalists - along with Notre Dame and Michigan. The former Texas commit took an official visit to Palo Alto earlier this month.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I love the coaching staff out there. It was beautiful. They do a lot of cool things with the tight end. I really enjoyed the visit out there.”
But now Smythe will turn his attention to Notre Dame, especially after this past weekend’s visit from Booker.
“It went really well,” said Smythe. “I like Coach Booker a lot. He’s a young guy, so he can relate to us. He said a lot of good things and it seems like he really does know a lot about the position and a lot about coaching it, so overall, it was a really good visit.”
And Smythe is looking forward to another positive visit when he gets to South Bend.
“I’m extremely excited,” he said. “I’ve only been on campus one other time and it was the summer before my sophomore year for a three-day camp. I was in a dorm and on the practice field, but other than that, I didn’t get to see too much. I’m excited for a more thorough visit, thorough exploration of the facilities and an overall feel for the atmosphere.”
Smythe reached out to Notre Dame shortly after decommitting from the Longhorns last month. The Irish asked him to remain patient as they sorted through the number of spots in the class and last week, Kerry Cooks reached out and officially “re-offered” Smythe a scholarship.
“I was really excited about that,” he said. “My interest in Notre Dame dates back a long time. I grew up a huge Notre Dame fan. It was really exciting to know that was another option and a possibility for me.”
Stanford is another school Smythe had his eye on for a long time.
“Even before my recruiting process started, I really tried to find schools that were first and foremost great academic schools that had good football programs,” he said. “I guess that’s pretty tough to find nowadays. In doing that, I really found Stanford and Notre Dame to be up there and developed an interest. That’s really the main combination that I’m looking for.”
Michigan also has that combination.
“I also like the fact that they’re transitioning back to the pro-style offense there,” Smythe said of the Wolverines. “With Coach (Al) Borges there, it’s going to be instituted starting this next year. He said with Denard Robinson, it’s hard to contain him and put him under center, so they waited a couple years.
“Now, going back to that, it’s a very tight end-friendly offense and they do a lot of things that I do at my high school, so I’m kind of familiar with that.”
Even with signing day creeping up on Feb. 6th, Smythe doesn’t have a firm timetable for a decision, other than to say he doesn’t want to wait until the end.
“I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought into it,” he said. “I’m not ruling anything out, but the overall goal is just to see at least a couple of places so I have something to compare and go from there. I would really prefer to do it sooner than later as far as waiting until Signing Day.
“I would prefer to get it done well before that. I really don’t have a specific date or anything like that, I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.”