Safety Justin Walters: "Lock Me In. I'm Committed."
Notre Dame was blown out by Michigan last fall in Ann Arbor, and many prospects considering both schools were in attendance for the game. This would include Bolingbrook (Ill.) High class of 2021 safety Justin Walters.
The rainy conditions of the game didn't seem to help Notre Dame on the field, but it may have been divine intervention for the Irish in Walters' recruitment.
"All of the college games I went to during the season were cold and rainy, except for the Notre Dame (vs. New Mexico) game," Walters said. "I took that as a sign from God that this was the place to go."
Walters' plan was to stretch his recruitment well into the spring and take all five of his official visits before committing before his senior season.
But clearly, he changed his timeline as the 6-1, 170-pounder announced his pledge to Notre Dame on Sunday. He visited Notre Dame last September and returned to campus Saturday for a prospect recruiting event.
"Ever since I went to that New Mexico game, I knew in my heart that it was the place," Walters explained. "Everyone talks about 'when you know, you know,' and I knew. When I went on that visit yesterday, I was thinking to myself and talking to my parents when we got home. We were just saying, 'Why waste these other coaches' time and waste my time taking other visits when in all of our hearts we know where I'm going to go?'
"Coach [Terry] Joseph told me that he's only taking two safeties in the class, and when two safeties do commit, they're 100 percent committed to them and won't recruit anymore safeties. So I thought I might as well jump on that opportunity and take that spot while I can and be done with it."
Walters came to his decision Saturday night after talking with his family.
"I left the room and called Coach Joseph right then and told him that I felt like Notre Dame was the right fit for me and to lock me in; I'm committed," said Walters. "And then I called Coach Kelly this morning.
"Coach Joseph was hyped. He wanted me bad. Coach Kelly is a really good coach too. He really cares about more than just football."
Walters is considering enrolling early at Notre Dame for January of 2021.
"We're not sure on that yet," he said.
Rivals ranks Walters as the No. 8 prospect in Illinois and the No. 14 safety nationally. He is Notre Dame's eighth pledge of the 2021 class.