McDonough (Ga.) Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy defensive end Isaac Rochell has been committed to Notre Dame since early June and has never budged on the status of his pledge.
Irish DL commit Isaac Rochell took an official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend.
His trip to South Bend last April opened his eyes to the opportunities presented on campus and his return trip on June 4 was followed by a commitment just two days later. After getting back to Notre Dame for the Michigan game on his own dime he was able to finally take his official visit this past weekend – one which only featured one other commit, offensive tackle Hunter Bivin.
“Getting to be around a lot of the players was the most important thing and the biggest different from my other trips out there,” the 6-5, 260-pound four-star defensive end reported to BlueandGold.com. “Bottom line I feel it’s about taking in the overall environment.”
“We got to spend a lot of time together,” the Georgia native said. “I was with him for two days, really. We bonded and it was cool getting to ask him questions about how he felt there.”
Rochell also noted having a chance to meet junior nose guard Louis Nix III, who he’s looking forward to playing the defensive line with, and freshman defensive end Sheldon Day – yet another person to ask questions about the transition from the high school level to being a first-year contributor.
“Sheldon was my co-host and he’s a really humble guy,” he said. “He didn’t talk about playing as a freshman and all of that. He mainly answered all my questions about the academic part. It’s a main concern for me because I’m not really concerned about the playing side. I want to know what it’s like to take on a full course load at a really good academic school like Notre Dame. And Sheldon was able to give me more confidence going into the situation.”
Rochell noted that he didn’t actually get to spend a ton of time with Williams during the visit considering his was an official and Williams was an unofficial, but he couldn’t help but think about how great it will be to build the same type of friendships when he reports in the summer.
“It was good to get him out there,” the No. 11 player in Georgia, nation’s No. 11 strongside defensive end and No. 127 overall prospect in the land according to 247Sports said. “I’m not sure what he’s thinking for his recruiting process in general, but I know he likes Notre Dame.”
Rochell received an in-home visit from Brian Kelly and Scott Booker on Thursday.
Williams listed Notre Dame among his ten standouts in an interview with BlueandGold.com following his visit this past weekend.
Rochell noted getting a chance to be around the early enrollees and seeing how they’ve been following the early start.
“It was cool to see them all and ask about the combination of the winter workouts and academics,” he said of offensive lineman Steve Elmer, tight end Mike Heuerman, wide receiver James Onwualu, wide receiver Corey Robinson and quarterback Malik Zaire. “They all said it was a clean transition.”
In regards to the plan for him moving forward, Rochell spent time with his future position coach, Mike Elston.
“It was cool because he was almost reassuring himself as well as we were talking about how they’re going to be moving forward,” he said following a national championship run for the Irish in 2012. “We watched some of the Alabama film and he feels good about what’s going on with the program and the recruiting class coming in. He never wants to have the feeling after losing in a national championship game again and he feels that our defensive line is going to be just as strong.”
Rochell, who has started a new Twitter page using @IsaacRochell88, also had a chance to sit down with defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, but said at this point it’s all about continuing to build those relationships because “recruiting is pretty much over and I’m just ready to sign and officially be part of the team.”
While he was also able to meet with Brian Kelly in South Bend, he was looking forward to getting the Irish head coach in his neck of the wood for an in-home visit on Thursday.
“Coach Kelly and (Georgia recruiter and tight ends coach Scott) Booker were at the school and then they came by my house,” the Offense-Defense All-American said. “It was great having them in my house. It was different because it’s getting a coach out of their environment and in your own. But it was cool and it’s always great having a chance to be around Coach Kelly.”
Rochell noted that despite having a coaching staff full of Georgia fans, everyone around his school was excited to host Notre Dame’s coaches.
With National Signing Day less than two weeks away, he’s looking forward to taking the next step in the process and becoming a part of the program that has generated that level of excitement in his surroundings.
“I’m just going to enjoy it all with my school,” he said of his plans on Feb. 6. “It’s an accomplishment. I’ll be able to look back and say that it all worked out.
“I never had a specific goal. I just worked hard for these four years to be successful. Everything is coming to fruition.”
Soon enough, Rochell will begin another four in the next phase.