When 2014 Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp wide receiver Josh Malone arrived in South Bend on Saturday, he was just excited to be watching his first Notre Dame game in person. By the time he left town on Sunday, he was elated. That's because the Irish gave the talented playmaker a scholarship offer, raising his impressive total to nine.
Malone, who has been making unofficial visits nearly every weekend so far this fall, said he came away impressed with Notre Dame.
"It was nice," he said. "They had a good game day atmosphere, they got live up there. It was a real good team and they have a great tradition."
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Malone's good week continued when he picked up an offer from North Carolina on Tuesday night. He's set to take a visit to Chapel Hill for the Tar Heels game against North Carolina State on Saturday.
"I've been up there once but that was when I was little and it was for a basketball tournament," he said. "I just remember walking through the basketball arena. Hopefully this time I'll get to see what's really up there."
Malone's stock has been on a consistent rise this season, netting him offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee and several other quality programs. He's taken advantage of the interest, taking unofficial visits to Louisville, Tennessee, Alabama and Vanderbilt.
He said getting a chance to check out so many different programs in such a short period of time, especially on game days, has been a great experience.
"I just think about what it's like to have all these great schools recruiting me," Malone said. "When you're there it's kind of like, 'wow, I could be a part of that,' I think about that a lot."
Malone said his most memorable trip so far this fall was to Knoxville, for the clash between Florida and Tennessee.
"The game with the best atmosphere was definitely Tennessee-Florida," he said. "Those two teams came in undefeated and played a great game, it was a good time of year and it's really defined how they've played since."
Despite the growing buzz surrounding him in recruiting, Malone said he's had a tough year on the field individually. Every week teams are double or triple-teaming him, forcing other players on the Station Camp team to make plays.
"I'm taking advantage when I get the ball but they're throwing a lot of guys at me," said Malone, who also starts at defensive back an serves as the team's primary kick returner. "… I just have to make sure I keep working because sooner or later I'm going to get open."
Malone said as of now he's wide open and will continue to enjoy the process. He has visits lined up to Georgia (Nov. 3) and Auburn (Nov. 10) as well a trip to Columbus for Ohio State-Michigan on Nov. 24.
"Right now I have no timeline," he said. "I'm just letting it play out and probably when I have a feeling about which school I like I'll sit down and make a decision."
Malone and his family have traveled thousands of miles to see games this fall and he said he's not necessarily concerned with staying close to home for college.
"I wouldn't mind it because if that's the decision I make I know it's because I'll be comfortable," he said. "As long as I'm playing and getting my grades in the classroom I wouldn't have to think about home that much."
Outside of school and his high school season, Malone said he's just trying to stick to basics and enjoy playing the game he loves.
"It's one of those humbling experiences," he said. "Each time I get a new offer it just makes me want to work harder to achieve my goal. It's like everything is falling into place and my dreams are starting to come true."