football Edit

2023 Rivals100 TE Howard Raves About Notre Dame Visit

In the first five days of June, New Hope (Minn.) Robbinsdale Cooper Sr. class of 2023 tight end Jaxon Howard visited five schools.

The 6-4, 235-pound four-star recruit, who ranks as the nation’s No. 64, visited Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame. He’ll visit eight schools in the next week as well and plans to see 29 schools in June.

As far as his Notre Dame visit on June 5 went, Howard raved about his time in South Bend.

“We pulled up and met Coach [John] McNulty outside,” Howard said. “I gave him a great handshake; what a guy! We talked some ball, and he showed me some tight end film. The defensive line coach [Mike Elston] had a presentation for me about Notre Dame and their tradition. I saw a video of the players doing charity in the community, which is something I really loved.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish football recruiting target Jaxson Howard
Minnesota pass catcher Jaxon Howard was in South Bend for a visit on Saturday.

“I got to meet with the head coach [Brian Kelly], and man, I just love that guy. It was amazing. He spoke to me about how I’m going to all of these places, and it’s not all about the glitz and glamour of the facilities but the people you meet. That was definitely one thing I was able to take away from the visit, and meeting Coach McNulty was an amazing experience.

“When you look at the facilities from the outside, you wouldn’t think it was a weight room with the old-fashioned brick which looks amazing. And when you walk in, it’s a whole different experience. I think it was seven Heisman trophies right off the bat that I saw.”

Notre Dame was the 48th school to offer him a scholarship back in February. While some may think that Notre Dame was “late” to the party, Howard was still in the middle of his sophomore year of high school when tight ends coach John McNulty extended the news.

Plus, Howard was Notre Dame’s first tight end offer along with St. Louis De Smet’s Mac Markway on the same day, and McNulty had been in contact with Howard for several months, building their relationship.

The first time Howard and McNulty met in person was Saturday, and they had some fun moments.

“When he got my height and weight, he was like, ‘Oh yeah!’ Sometimes people might come in and say they’re 6-4 but they’re 6-2,” explained Howard. “I was actually 6-4. It was just great getting to meet him.”

Howard notes that he and his brother Phoenix Sproles, a wide receiver for North Dakota State, grew up watching the Fighting Irish.

“Me and my older brother have always thought highly of Notre Dame,” he added. “After going there, it definitely met my expectations, and actually exceeded it. It was an amazing experience. I got on my No. 11 jersey, and I felt like Chase Claypool.”

Howard visited with his father, Willie, who was a defensive lineman for the Stanford Cardinal before being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and his younger sister, Aeyva, a class of 2025 basketball recruit.

“The biggest thing was the hospitality,” Willie Howard added. “With my daughter being a part of the visit and wanting to see what the college basketball life was life – they showed us those facilities.

“You could really see the tradition and how much Coach Kelly is invested into the overall grand scheme of the Fighting Irish. You can tell that he believes what it means to be a part of the Fighting Irish.”

Next up on Howard’s visit tour is seeing Northwestern and Wisconsin on Sunday. He’ll take a break for a few days before hitting the road June 11 on the east coast to see the likes of N.C. State, North Carolina, Clemson Georgia, Florida, Florida State and others

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