Notre Dame was hoping to make a big impression with Matt Summers-Gavin (6-foot-4.5, 275 pounds) when he visited for the Purdue game. Matt came prepared with questions and he left impressed.
“It went great,” Summers-Gavin said of his official visit to Notre Dame. “I learned a lot about the academics and what the school had to offer. I really enjoyed the school, the resources and the sense of community that they have there.
“We went around to each academic place. We checked out the facilities, everything on campus, the way the campus looked, how easy it was to get around, and the dorms. I wanted to check out everything around South Bend as well, because I wanted to get a feel for my surroundings if I went there. All in all I got to see everything. It was a very productive trip and I really enjoyed myself, so it was fun.
“I’d done my research and I asked a lot of questions to the players, coaches and professors,” Summer-Gavin said. “I got all my questions answered. I have a couple more official visits to take to see what the other schools have to offer and then I want to compare that to what Notre Dame offers.
“Bartley Webb and then Mike Turkovich,” Matt replied when asked which players hosted him during his visit. “They were both great guys. They showed me a good time. One was from Arkansas and one was from Pennsylvania. I asked them about their transition and I really enjoyed from their aspect that they made the best decision. ‘If you want to come here, you want to win a national championship, get a great education that will help you for the rest of your life, Notre Dame is the place to be.’ I heard nothing but positive things.
"The biggest adjustment for me would probably the weather. It was hot, then it rained, and then it got hot again. It would be a change, but I really don’t have a preference for weather. So I guess the biggest adjustment would be adjusting to college athletics. Still with all the resources around you and everything that they provide it seems that if you put the work in, you’d produced the results. I really like how the players said, ‘If you put the work, you show up to class, and you show up on the field in every aspect and you use the resources around you that you’ll be the best that you can be.’ I really like what I heard.”
Summers-Gavin not only liked what he heard from the Notre Dame players, but the Notre Dame student body also made a big impression on him.
“I thought it was great,” Matt said of the Notre Dame student section. “All the dances, the hand motions, the pushups after touchdowns. Everything during the game really gets you excited. I really liked when it rained the fans didn’t come down. It got them real excited, it got the players excited and it got me excited. I really like the fan support.
“I really like how the coaches took care of business. They got a pretty big win. Purdue was undefeated, but it was a win that was there for Notre Dame. I like the gameday atmosphere. There aren’t advertisements all over the stadium. It just seems like a great place to play your games on Saturday.”
During his visit Matt wanted to get a feel for the Irish coaching staff. After meeting with coach Weis and coach Latina, Summers-Gavin felt the visit was complete.
“The experience with the coaches was really good,” Summers-Gavin said. “I really liked coach Weis. He is very straightforward, very too the point. He doesn’t b.s. you. He’s very honest. He’s going to tell truth. I’ve heard from the players that he can be brutally honest, but that’s what you need. You need a coach that’s going to tell it like it is. You need someone who is going to be a tough coach, because he wants the players to be their best and he wants to put the best players on the field or else he’s not going to have a job. He made it very clear, that if you’re good enough, you’ll play. I’m happy to know that with great work, comes great reward. I really appreciated where he came from.
“Coach Latina seems like a very straightforward coach. He told me about his history of putting linemen in the NFL, and he seems like a very good father figure. He seems like he’ll coach you tough and get after you, which is exactly what I want in a coach.
“They were very open and very straight to the point. They put no pressure on me to commit,” Summers-Gavin said of his conversation with the Irish coaches. “They’re looking for five offensive linemen to sign this year. They let me know that it was in my hands and even when it gets down to it, they’re not going to put pressure on me. They’re going to let me know what's going on, but they aren’t going to put pressure on me. I was really happy about that.
Although Matt had a great trip, he still wasn’t going to rate it a prefect trip.
“I’d say a 9.5,” Matt said when asked to rate his visit. “I really enjoyed it. The rain brought it down .5. I’m not going to give it a 10 just to give it a 10. It was a very fun trip. I’m one of these perfectionist guys so I can’t give something a 10 out of 10, because there is no such thing as a perfect trip, but I saw a lot and a lot of the stuff I saw I really liked.
“I haven’t seen anything that’s a big question mark [with Notre Dame], but I want to go through the same experience that I went through at Notre Dame at Cal and Oregon. I don’t want to cut those schools short. I just want to go through the whole process.
“I want to take trips to Cal and Oregon and check those schools out so I can really get a real list of positive and negatives and not just go from where I’m at right now. After an official visit, everyone is going to say this is the best opportunity for me. I kind of want [the excitement] to die down. I want to make an intellectual decision as well as a decision from my heart. I want to make an educated decision when I choose the school I want to go to."