InsideNDSports - Legacy TE Eli Raridon Goes In-Depth On Notre Dame Visit, Recruiting
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Legacy TE Eli Raridon Goes In-Depth On Notre Dame Visit, Recruiting

The last time Eli Raridon was in South Bend, Ind. was for the Irish’s 42-13 beatdown of Florida State back in 2018. He was a high school freshman and visited the game as a fan.

“It was a dream to be able to play at this level, but I wasn’t sure [if it’d happen],” Raridon said. “It’s cool looking back at it now. It’s amazing being [at Notre Dame].”

The West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley class of 2022 tight end recruit returned to South Bend over the weekend, a place he’s been to many times over the years, as his father played for the Irish in the early 2000s and grandfather was on staff in the late 1980s.

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He and his father got to Notre Dame on Friday night and left on Sunday. Former Irish safety John Mahoney, who also attended Valley High, joined Raridon as well. By all accounts, Raridon’s time in South Bend was successful.

“We looked around the campus [on Friday],” Raridon said. “On Saturday, we did the same thing – slept in and then looked around even more of the school. It was just beautiful seeing this place again. I got to see the stadium; it’s even super cool to see from the outside. It’s a special place for sure.

“I just feel comfortable being here. It’s a place where I want to be for the next four years of my life. It’s a beautiful place. I’ve been here — growing up my whole life going two games per year — being a diehard fan. It’s really special.”

Notre Dame offered Raridon on Feb. 9, and the staff has put the full court press on the 6-6, 220-pounder ever since.

“Coach [John] McNulty and I catch up on things and do Zooms,” Raridon said. “We’ll do film reviews, and Coach Rees will hop on there too. Coach [Tommy] Rees talked to me first and offered me, and McNulty jumped in and took over my recruiting. I’ve gotten really close with Coach McNulty and the guys. It’s been awesome.”

During Raridon’s time in South Bend, he met up with Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central linebacker and class of 2022 Notre Dame commit Nolan Ziegler. Raridon enjoyed meeting Ziegler, and he also speaks regularly with Fighting Irish quarterback commit Steve Angeli.

“They’re super genuine guys,” Raridon said. “Some guys can be full of themselves, but Nolan is a really cool guy, and I talk to Steve on Twitter. He’s an awesome guy too. He’s been recruiting me to come there. They all seem like awesome guys. I can’t wait for my official. Steve will be there, and Nolan will be there too. I’m excited for that.”

Raridon has also taken recent self-guided tours of Iowa and Iowa State. It was important to him to check out some of his top options this spring heading into June, which is when he has four official visits lined up.

“I’m unsure of where I want to go, but I have it narrowed down,” he said. “I want to take as much time and make sure what the right place is for me. This unofficial at Notre Dame has been amazing. I want to be confident in my decision.

“I’m taking my time. I’m not in a rush unless something happens. After my officials, there’s no reason to wait around. I’ll be pretty sure of my decision.”

Iowa may be Notre Dame’s biggest competition at this point in time.

“It’s obviously appealing how much they use their tight ends, just like [Notre Dame],” he said. “They develop them really well, and it’s close to home.

“We did a campus tour with Iowa State too. They’re all amazing places. It means a lot to be at Notre Dame because I don’t have the same connections with the other places. I’ve been here — growing up my whole life going two games per year — being a diehard fan. It’s really special.”

Rivals ranks Raridon as the No. 5 player from Iowa and the No. 22 tight end in the nation.

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