Jimmy Byrne committed to Notre Dame in December and the 2014 Cleveland offensive lineman has been using his time to get more comfortable with the Irish program ever since.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from St. Ignatius High School spent some time on campus this weekend to further that process.
“It went pretty well,” said Byrne, who arrived in South Bend on Friday afternoon.
“When we got there, the first thing, I met with (strength and conditioning coach Paul) Longo for about an hour. It was just me and him. We got to go over stuff I’ve been doing in terms of training and stuff that Notre Dame does and what I can apply to my own stuff back home. It was good meeting with him.”
Byrne was comforted by the absence of many differences between the two programs.
“I was kind of surprised how many similarities there are,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that we do is similar. Obviously there are some differences, but for the most part it’s pretty much the same.”
After meeting with Longo, Byrne spent about an hour at the Gug with his future position coach, Harry Hiestand.
“We looked at some film and just talked a little bit,” said Byrne. “We’re getting more comfortable with each other. It gives him a chance to learn my football IQ and knowledge.
“He’s already started talking to me about some of the pass protections Notre Dame goes over and when I was looking at the film if I could interpret what to do or not. It was interesting to learn his coaching style and experience it firsthand.”
Then Byrne had the chance to spend a couple hours with Steve Elmer, a 2013 offensive lineman who enrolled in January.
“He’s a really nice kid,” Byrne said of Elmer. “It was good to get to know him.”
Elmer seems to be adjusting to college just fine.
“He said it was a little tough at first, but he has his feet wet now and knows what he’s doing,” said Byrne. “I think he’s competing really well with a lot of the guys. I think they have him at second-string right now. I think he’s really impressing a lot of people.”
Byrne also had the opportunity to hang out with Quenton Nelson, an offensive line prospect from New Jersey who was also visiting Notre Dame this weekend.
“I’d say Quenton had a really good time there too,” Byrne said. “I think he’s pretty high on Notre Dame, so we’ll see what happens in the future.”
On Saturday, Byrne was able to watch his first college practice.
“It was good,” he said. “It was really intense. They had some scrimmage time today, ones versus ones. Guys were fighting it out. Coach Hiestand was just like I expected. He was intense, but he was just there to help guys, teach guys as much as he can and not just yell and banter. I was glad to see that all of my assumptions were true.”
Byrne is planning to get back to South Bend later this month for the Irish’s spring game.