Atlanta Westminster class of 2022 tight end and Notre Dame commit Holden Staes had been to South Bend previously for a self-guided tour during the NCAA’s recruiting dead period, but the weekend of June 18-20 was his first time getting into all of the facilities and meeting the Irish coaches.
The four-star prospect goes in-depth on his time at Notre Dame with BlueandGold.com.
This is the most important question. How does the South Bend airport compare to Atlanta?
Staes: “(Laughs) This feels more like a train station than an airport. The Atlanta airport is insane. South Bend’s airport is nice and easy.”
Let’s talk about the visit. What stood out to you?
Staes: “The visit was awesome. It was super busy, so I’m exhausted, but it was definitely worth the wait. I would say the best part was connecting with the other three commits – Steve Angeli, Eli Raridon and Donovan Hinish – and getting to know the other recruits on the visit. I got spend time with the coaches and meet them face-to-face. I hung out with the players too.”
Tell me more about Steve and Eli specifically. Steve will be your quarterback, and you’ll be spending a lot of time with Eli in the tight end rooms.
Staes: “I knew both of them pretty well from being committed and talking to them a good bit, but I got to meet them in person, and they’re super cool dudes. We kicked it off well. I’m excited to keep building a relationship with them. I think we’re going to do some great things on the field together for sure.”
You and Eli are both really good tight ends and have different body types. Because of that, you guys should be able to play together in two tight end sets. Is that a conversation that you and Eli had?
Staes: “We didn’t, but the coaches definitely did. Eli is like a solid 6-7; he’s huge. I feel like we can play together easily, especially with all of the 12 personnel Notre Dame runs. He’s more of the hand in the ground guy, and I’ll be flexed out; I think that’s how they see us. But wherever they see us, we’ll be really good together.”
Did you have a meeting together with Raridon and Coach McNulty?
Staes: “Yeah we had a film session on Friday. Every recruit went with their position coach into a meeting room. We watched some film, but we were just talking honestly amongst the three of us. Both of our parents and Eli’s granddad were in there too. Michael Mayer and a few other tight ends came in too. It was pretty cool.”
Was it more of Notre Dame’s film or were they going through your film?
Staes: “It was their film and where they see us playing at and what they’re doing with their tight ends. We watched more spring film because we watched most of the season film when they were recruiting us.”
How was meeting Coach McNulty in person? What was he like? I’m sure it’s got to be a little bit different going from Zoom to in person.
Staes: “Honestly, he’s like the same person on Zoom, on the phone or in person. He’s even-keeled and a super nice guy. He knows ball and what he’s talking about. He’s the nicest dude ever. I love talking to him. He picked us up from the airport, and we hung out with him all day Friday. He had to head out Saturday because of a wedding, but he was awesome.”
I’m sure you got to sit down with Coach Kelly. How was that?
Staes: “Yeah we had a meeting Saturday in his office with my family for about 20 minutes. It was a really good meeting. He’s actually really funny when you get to talking to him in person. I have nothing but good things to say about him. We really had a really good talk, and he likes the future I have at Notre Dame for sure.”
Tell me about the campus and facilities. I know you did a self-guided tour previously, but for the official, you got to see everything in-depth. What stood out to you?
Staes: “The campus is super historic. When you’re walking on the campus, you feel the tradition. When you’re on the field, you just want to start playing. It’s breathtaking. I’m just super excited for sure.”
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