The Notre Dame recruiting staff promised to keep mail carriers around the country busy the first couple weeks of September and the Irish delivered.
The mailboxes of 2015 prospects from coast to coast were stuffed with letters, pamphlets, flyers and invitations to games from South Bend in an organized effort to grab the attention of some of the nation’s top juniors. Again, the Irish delivered.
With college programs allowed to begin sending mail in September of a prospect’s junior year, players were eager to see which schools would reach out and Notre Dame made big impressions with a process led by Director of Player Personnel Dave Peloquin and aided by staffer J.R. Sandlin.
One junior prospect said he received over 60 hand-written letters from Notre Dame between Monday and Tuesday. Another said he’d been getting about 20 pieces of mail a day from South Bend since Sept. 1st. Several others were bombarded as well and some are already looking into getting to Notre Dame for a game this fall.
The process is still in its early stages, but the Irish targeted multiple prospects of great interest and accomplished their goal of catching their attention.
2015 Arkansas tight end Will Gragg received 63 letters in two days.
“I couldn’t even read them all,” he laughed. “They’re saying they want to get me to come to South Bend to check out the campus and eventually offer me a scholarship.”
Gragg, who already has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, says he and his father are Notre Dame fans and a trip to South Bend will “definitely” be set up at some point in the future.
2015 North Carolina safety/linebacker Tanner Muse, who already has six ACC offers, also got a bunch of mail from Notre Dame and is also looking into setting up a visit.
“We’ve talked about coming up for a game soon, but I’m not sure when yet,” he said.
He said he’s impressed by “the tradition and how it’s such a football school. Once you hear the name, you just think of tradition.”
2015 New Jersey offensive lineman Grant Newsome has early offers from schools like Rutgers, Penn State, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia and Wake Forest among others. He’s also looking at getting to South Bend and is even eyeing a date this month.
“I’ve been looking at possibly going out the 28th for the Oklahoma game. I still have to check with my parents, but that’s definitely very possible,” he said.
Put 2015 Ohio cornerback Kei Beckham on the list of those wanting to visit as well.
“Hopefully soon, probably sometime in October,” he said. “They’ve been sending me inspirational stuff and the game schedule. They’re trying to get me down there for a game.”
2015 North Carolina athlete Nyheim Hines is the owner of early offers from North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke and East Carolina. He was also contacted by the Irish last week.
“I know it’s a really great academic school, it’s a Catholic school, it’s in South Bend and they have a contract with NBC for television,” said Hines. “They’re supposed to go into the ACC and they’re supposed to have at least five ACC games a year.”
2015 Mississippi offensive lineman Matt Womack has received 15 pieces of mail from Notre Dame already this week, 2015 Virginia wide receiver Trevion Armstrong got more than he could open on Tuesday and 2015 Ohio athlete David Dowell said he was getting about 20 a day last week.
“It means a lot,” said Dowell, who has an early offer from Tennessee among others. “Notre Dame is a historic program, a storied school with a lot of history behind it. If you like big-time football, they’re the school; they’re like on a pedestal, so it’s really big.”
Brady White was able to connect with the Irish, who made it clear the 2015 California quarterback is on their radar. White already holds an offer from San Jose State.
The Irish sent mail to a couple of other junior quarterbacks out West as well, Washington’s Brett Rypien and Danny Hong of Las Vegas.
“Most of it is explaining how they’re going to be able to contact me more, that they’re excited,” said Rypien, the nephew of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, who already has offers from Washington State, Boise State and Colorado State among others.
“They want to get me down to South Bend and basically much of the same stuff other schools have been saying.”
Hong has an early offer from Hawaii and is receiving interest from several other top programs, including several highly-academic schools.
“It’s humbling because I never really thought I would get mail from Notre Dame at this point,” he said. “I didn’t even think they knew who I was. I’m glad that I’m on their radar and it’s humbling that I am.”
And this is just a quick sampling of those Notre Dame reached out to in the last week and a half.