Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius offensive line pledge Jimmy Byrne traveled back to Notre Dame on Saturday for a visit with his parents and sister. While he has been to South Bend before and knew what to expect, it was different on this visit considering it was his first time back as a commit.
OL Jimmy Byrne plans on getting back to Notre Dame in the spring.
“It was great to be back on campus,” the 6-4, 275-pound three-star recruit reported to BlueandGold.com on Sunday. “The last time was more of an exploratory visit to see what the school was about, so it was much easier to enjoy it this time around knowing it’s the school I’m going to. I got to focus on building relationships with more of the coaches.”
In addition to returning for the first time as a committed recruit, he got to meet Irish head coach Brian Kelly in person for the first time. Other coaches he spent the most time with were his future position coach Harry Hiestand and he talked to offensive coordinator Chuck Martin for nearly an hour.
“Coach Kelly introduced himself to my whole family,” he said. “He talked about his background and how he got to Notre Dame. He’s got bit plays for his future at Notre Dame. He told me he wants to win four national championships and we’re going to try to do that while I’m there. It’s reassuring to hear he has long-time plans with the program.
“It’s hard to trust a college coach because a lot of them just up and leave, but I can tell there’s a different level of passion with Coach Kelly. I believe what he’s telling me about having a job to do at Notre Dame before going anywhere else.”
His meeting with offensive line coach Hiestand targeted where he’ll be contributing for the Irish.
“He mentioned that I’m going to be playing guard or tackle,” Byrne shared. “We watched some film and went over some of the responsibilities for both positions. It was great because it game me a sense of how he coaches on and off the field. I’ve played tackle my whole time in high school, but the transition to guard wouldn’t be too difficult.”
Byrne also met another coach for the first time that may not receive a lot of mention, but he’ll be spending more time with than anyone else on the staff.
“I’m glad I got to meet (strength and conditioning coach) Paul Long for the first time” he said. “That’s such a big part of the whole process. It was great learning what his program is all about.”
A pair of Irish 2013 commits were on campus for official visits, one of which being defensive end Isaac Rochell, who was joined by junior offered defensive end Andrew Williams, and he had a chance to talk to one and also a pair of early enrollees already on campus.
“(2013 offensive line commit) Hunter Bivin came up and introduced himself,” Byrne said. “(Freshman quarterback) Malik Zaire and (freshman wide receiver) James Onwualu were working on film, so Martin brought me in to meet them.
“It’s important that I start building these relationships and friendships now because we’re a year and a half away from being teammates.”
Byrne also plans on trying to help add to his class by recruiting 2014 prospects to join the Irish.
There have been coaches by his school to check on some of his teammates but any that have asked about him have received a quick “he’s committed to Notre Dame” response from his coach, Chuck Kyle.
“I knew when I committed what I was getting myself in to,” Byrne said of remaining firm in his pledge. “This visit reassured that. My mind isn’t going to change. The only way it would is if a major coaching change happened. But that’s none of my concern or business right now. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not interested in any other schools.”
The Ohio native, who is tabbed by 247Sports as the No. 22 player in Ohio and nation’s No. 22 offensive guard, received first-team all-state honors following the 2012 season and was named a first-team junior All-American by MaxPreps.
Byrne said he plans on getting back to South Bend for a spring practice and likely the Blue-Gold Game on April 20 as well.
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