Some thought even getting 5-star linebacker Ben Davis onto campus was the recruiting victory. But after Brian Kelly went in-home with the top prospect in the state of Alabama—and a Crimson Tide legacy, no less—the head coach’s impact wasn’t lost on the Under Armour All-American.
Notre Dame’s visit with Davis went well. How well? It sounds like Davis is hitting reboot on his decision, telling Blue & Gold’s Andrew Ivins that he has “no leader” after welcoming Kelly and four assistants into his home.
This, from the surprising report from our friends at B&G:
“It’s going to be interesting,” Davis said. “The visit was unbelievable. I have never had that many coaches from one school come … I named Alabama my leader because I had a great visit, but right now I don’t have a leader because my eyes have opened up.”
Kelly was joined by Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, linebackers coach Mike Elston, running backs coach Autry Denson and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght.
Davis said the head man made his final face-to-face pitch simple.
“He said there’s plenty of playing time. If I come up there, I’m going to have to play and contribute early. He said there’s a great support staff there and that I would have not only for the four years that I’m there, but also when I graduate,” Davis said.
Notre Dame’s final week has been one of the more impressive recruiting pushes I can remember. These visits are a long way from the Ty-Willingham-Won’t-Leave-Brian-Toal’s-Living-Room era. While we won’t find out if the efforts net Davis, or fellow 5-stars Caleb Kelly and Demetris Robertson, long gone are the days when Notre Dame’s coaching staff rested on the laurels of their blue-chip brand.
Credit first-year assistant Autry Denson for making the in-roads with Davis. The blue-chip linebacker told Irish 247’s Tom Loy that he views Denson as a brother and that they’ll “maintain a friendship for life.” That’s the type of recruiter Notre Dame needed when they replaced Tony Alford, and Denson did a heckuva job with his young position group, too.
Kelly’s sales pitch to Davis is probably more true than even Irish fans want to acknowledge. While Nyles Morgan is the heir apparent to Joe Schmidt in the middle of the Irish defense, to think there isn’t room for a prospect like Davis in a linebacking corps that returns only James Onwualu (10th on the defense in total snaps) to the starting lineup would be under-appreciating Davis’ talent.
The Alabama native is visiting Auburn this weekend on an official visit. He’ll make his decision live on ESPNU on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.