Daniel Helm knew where he stood on Notre Dame’s board even before the 2014 Illinois tight end visited South Bend for the Irish’s Junior Day, but he didn’t realize exactly where the Irish stood with him until this weekend.
“It went pretty well,” said the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill.
“I really enjoyed it. We sat in on the meetings, then we watched practice, ate and got a campus tour. We got some academic info, a stadium tour, the rest of the Gug and a Q&A with the players. That was the end of the day.”
Helm enjoyed the opportunity to see the Irish work out up close.
“Practice was sweet,” he said. “That was the first college practice I’ve seen, so it was really, really cool to see how fast everything moves.”
He felt comfortable with the campus.
“I really like the size of the campus,” he said. “It’s not too big, not too small. That’s probably what struck me the most. All of the buildings are really cool-looking, but I really like the size of the campus.”
And he was surprised by the actual strength of Notre Dame’s academic program.
“The academics were great,” he said. “I didn’t realize how superb their graduation rate was compared to everybody else in the nation. That speaks for itself. Overall, I learned a decent amount about Notre Dame’s prestige.”
Getting the opportunity to speak directly with some of the team’s younger players was also helpful.
“It was nice hearing their perspective on some things and getting to hear their daily schedule and their transition from high school to college,” said Helm.
Helm and his father had the chance to speak with Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.
“At the end of the day, (Booker) wanted to know what I thought and he talked a little bit about where I sat amongst their recruits at tight end at the moment,” said Helm.
Booker reiterated the Irish’s current situation at tight end, which Martin had done a few weeks ago.
“He basically said they’ve offered five guys right now and they’re not in a position to extend an offer,” said Helm. “If it happens where they can and they want to offer me, they’ll let me know. And if a tight end commits and they can’t take me, they’ll let me know that too.”
Helm already has offers from BCS programs in the Midwest like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Northwestern and Nebraska as well as offers from Ole Miss, Tennessee and North Carolina State, but one from the Irish could change the complexion of his recruitment.
“I like them a lot. If I received an offer, they’d be one of my favorite schools, easily.”