Even without a scholarship offer, four-star receiver Kraig Appleton listed the Irish among his current favorites.
"One of the guys, one of the coaches, came down and came in for a little visit with me, and talked with me for a little while," the 6-foot-3, 200-pound East St. Louis (Ill.) Senior High standout explained. "I just liked the way he was talking to me. Rob Ianello. It sounded real good to me."
"He was just saying he looked forward to me coming down there to hopefully play for them."
Quite a few other schools are also hoping the very speedy Appleton comes and plays for them. The state's two-time Class-AA defending champion in the 300-meter hurdles and medal winner in several other events, Appleton holds written scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas Tech and Arkansas.
Among his offers, Appleton lists his favorites as Illinois, Wisconsin and Texas Tech, along with the Irish, Ohio State and LSU.
Appleton finished his junior year with around 50 receptions for 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. He helped his team to a 12-2 record and a spot in the state semifinals, and admits not knowing much about Notre Dame.
"That's all I can really go by at this moment, because I haven't visited or seen how it's like there," Appleton said of his conversation with Ianello. "I've watched a couple games, and I just like the hype about Notre Dame."
Appleton said an offer would guarantee a visit to South Bend, and he doesn't plan on making his college commitment until January at the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio. So far, the only campus he's been on is Illinois'.
"It's not about football," Appleton stated. He reports a 3.2 GPA and is scheduled to take the ACT in October. "It's my academic interests. I want to try and major in civil engineering or some form of engineering."
Appleton admits he hasn't heard much from Notre Dame since the spring. Ianello told him to keep in touch, but he misplaced the business card given to him. He is hoping the Irish staff doesn't think he's not interested.
"I hope to hear from them soon."