With five guys suited up and at least 10 expected in the stands, more than half of Notre Dame’s 2013 recruiting class will be in South Bend this weekend for the Irish’s spring game.
“I’m really excited,” linebacker Doug Randolph said. “I can’t wait to get back up there and see everybody now that we’re officially signed.”
Offensive linemen John Montelus, Hunter Bivin and Mike McGlinchey echoed that sentiment.
“I can’t wait to be down there and see all of the Irish Mob together and everything,” Montelus said. “I just can’t wait.”
“I’m stoked to get back out there,” added McGlinchey. “I haven’t been out since my official, so it’s going to be good to see everything.”
“I just want to get back connected with the guys who have signed,” said Bivin. “I haven’t seen everybody since Signing Day. I doubt it’ll be much of a different feel, but since everybody knows for sure that we’re all going to be teammates, it might be a little different. I’m just excited to see everybody, see the coaches and get back up there.”
Bivin (pictured left) spent this week is Washington, D.C., for his senior trip and is scheduled to return to Kentucky early Saturday morning.
“We should be getting back in town on Saturday at like 3 or 4 in the morning, so I’m going to have to get off the bus and get right in the car and head up to South Bend,” Bivin said.
Meanwhile, linebacker Michael Deeb will be coming with a crew.
“I’m pumped,” he said. “My whole family is coming up with my trainer and a couple kids on my team. It’s going to be a fun trip. I’m excited to see the early enrollees in action and the whole team in general.”
In addition to Deeb, Randolph, Montelus, McGlinchey (pictured right) and Bivin, running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston are also expected along with receiver Will Fuller, tight end Durham Smythe and defensive end Jacob Matuska. Many of those who won’t be making the trip have conflicts with prom or other senior events.
Those are some of the things that Malik Zaire, James Onwualu, Corey Robinson, Mike Heuerman and Steve Elmer missed by enrolling at Notre Dame in January.
“I had prom the other night, they’re making sacrifices,” Deeb said of the early enrollees. “Right now, they’d be going through their final hurrah in high school, but instead they’re on the big stage, playing in the spring game for the top football team in the country. It’s big for them and it’s big for me knowing I’ll be a part of that soon.”
“It’ll be pretty cool to see them actually suited up in the blue and gold,” Randolph added. “I’m going to be really jealous.”
“It’s going to be different,” said Bivin. “I’m excited to watch them play and to see how much they’ve improved in the short time they’ve been in the program.”
“I’m excited to see how the freshmen are going to do,” McGlinchey said. “I think it’s going to be exciting to watch all of your buddies playing out there. I think it’s going to be a good test for them and I think it’s going to show a lot of what we’re going to have next season.”
McGlinchey and Montelus will be sure to have their eyes on Elmer.
“I can’t wait to see my boy Steve put in some work,” Montelus said. “I can’t wait to see the team get ready for the season. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“It’s definitely going to be a good experience for him,” McGlinchey added. “It fit with his family and his school, so he made the right decision for him to enroll early.
“I’m definitely going to be watching more intently to see what’s going on and what the competition is like and everything like that. It’s going to be an exciting experience and it’s definitely going to be more real than it has been.”
Deeb didn’t want to say he’ll be jealous, but did say, “Trust me, I’d love to be out there.”
Deeb also said he’s looking forward to getting more accustomed to campus and the student body.
“There’s something going on where there are a lot of incoming freshmen visiting as well,” he said. “I just want to meet some people and just get more comfortable around campus. Obviously it’s going to be about football, but I’ll be able to take a step back and get used to campus.”
Meanwhile, Bivin has at least one more thing he’s hoping to see before moving to South Bend in June.
“I still don’t think I’ve seen a dorm room yet,” he said. “I’d like to see a dorm room just so I can see where I’ll be living for the next couple years. Other than that, nothing really.”
Randolph said, “I’m just playing it by ear. I don’t really have too much of a plan for the weekend, I’m just going to go with the flow.”
Everybody agrees that getting inside Notre Dame Stadium one more time before they officially become members of the team is going to make things realer than ever.
“This is going to be crazy because that’s going to be me in a couple weeks, not even months,” Montelus said.
“It was pretty real when I came up for my official for the Michigan game, but it’ll be a little bit more real now that it’s really, really set with my signing,” Randolph said.
Deeb has looked at recruiting as a process, one that is in its final stages.
“I’m excited for it, but at the same time, I’m always planning for the future, but living in the moment,” he said. “Right now, it’s just focusing on today and trying to get better for tomorrow.”
Freshmen are due to report on June 15th, but Deeb expects to move up from Florida about a week earlier to get even more comfortable with campus.
“Plus, I’ll have to do some winter shopping because I don’t have winter clothes. You have to go far to find them.”