It was late June when Prince Shembo took his visit to Notre Dame's campus not knowing exactly what to expect.
The 6-foot-2, 232-pound defensive end from Charlotte, N.C., half expected to see old, rundown buildings at an aging Catholic institution. Instead, he saw top-notch football facilities and first-rate academic buildings.
All this took Shembo by surprise. Indeed, he was quite impressed. Barely one month later, Shembo has shown just how impressed he was by becoming commitment No. 14 in Notre Dame's 2010 recruiting class.
Shembo made it official Tuesday with a phone call to head coach Charlie Weis.
"He was very happy," Shembo said. "He was very, very happy. He said he was fired up. He said 'it's like you making a touchdown, you get hyped up.' He was fired up getting more commits."
The four-star prospect chose Notre Dame over North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The last of his visits came last weekend to Virginia Tech.
In the end, Notre Dame separated itself as the type of academic program Shembo was looking for combined with a strong football tradition.
"I like the feeling up there, being with the boys and everything," Shembo said. "The guys made it easy for me, the academics, and being Catholic just made it great … And the facilities, to be honest, were the nicest I've seen out of any of the schools."
Shembo noted that his unofficial visit went a long way toward cementing Notre Dame's place as his eventual destination.
"I thought it was gonna be in like the middle of nowhere, looking like Duke's campus. I didn't like Duke's campus at all," Shembo said. "When I went up there it was a little town, kind of like Salisbury, North Carolina. Not in the middle of nowhere. The campus was beautiful. And the facilities, I thought everything was gonna be old, like super-old. But it was brand new.
"I love the weight room. The weight room was the biggest weight room I've seen of any school. The indoor facilities. Everything. It was like all that. Everything about that."
Shembo said he's not a candidate for enrolling early and that he plans to major in economics.
He also intends to take his official visit during the weekend of Notre Dame's game against USC on Oct. 17.