Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers 2013 linebacker Jaylon Smith is no stranger to college football games, but Saturday was his first opportunity to witness a game in Notre Dame Stadium and the atmosphere exceeded his expecations.
"I didn't think the fans were going to be as pumped, but they were nice," Smith said. "I loved the fan base."
Notre Dame dropped their contest to USC on Saturday by a final of 31-17, but the chance to see the Irish on the field gave Smith a chance to evaluate the opportunity available at the program.
"I got to see some great things, and I also got to see their weakness in the pass rush and ways that I could come in and contribute if I was to go there," he said.
The 6-3, 205-pound Smith is one of the Midwest's top prospects for the class of 2013, and he was joined in the stands Saturday by many of his fellow standouts from the region.
"I knew a few guys that were there at the game," Smith said. "We were just talking about the offers that we had, what kind of school we were looking to go to and what were our chances of going to that school. We were all talking about wherever we went, we wanted to come in with a nice class and some people were saying Notre Dame could potentially be that."
Two junior prospects Smith met at the game were Middletown, Ohio, athlete Jalin Marshall and Joliet (Ill.) Catholic running back Ty Isaac, whom he spent time with before the game.
"Me, Ty, Jalin and a couple other people got to meet with the head coach individually, which was nice," Smith said. "It was good just for us to be isolated with coach."
Notre Dame is the third school Smith has visited for a game this fall. He had made previous game day visits to Ohio State and Purdue, and has two more schools he plans to see before the season is over.
"Michigan and IU, I think those will be the last two colleges I visit," Smith said. "I was going to go to IU this weekend, but I am going down to Ohio State to watch my brother play Wisconsin. Michigan, I am going to go to their game when they play Ohio State."
Smith's brother is Ohio State running back/linebacker Rod Smith. The younger Smith also plays running back for his high school and has college programs discussing that as a possibility at the next level.
"They are talking it, but I don't think I want to go that route," Smith said. "I think in college I will put my heart and soul into linebacker and I think I am going to stick to that. Running back is kind of in my genes and I'm good at it, but when I get to college I will be a linebacker."
Smith has already garnered scholarship offers from Indiana, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Tennessee.