Workout For Elston, In-Home With Kelly A Success For Aidan Keanaaina
Thursday, Dec. 5 was a big day for Aidan Keanaaina.
The Notre Dame class of 2020 defensive tackle commit from Denver Mullen had a morning workout with Matt McChesney of Six Zero Strength & Training, which is usual.
But what was very different about this training session was that Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston was in to see Keanaaina's workout.
Keanaaina isn't enrolling early and will continue to train with McChesney in the spring leading up to his enrollment at Notre Dame. Elston watching the workout was a great way for him to communicate to Keanaaina regarding what he wants his future player to work on.
"We went through a normal day," Keanaaina said. "We started off with run game practice, drills working on a reach block and then we did double-team drills. After that, we transitioned into pass rush, hand work and then pass rush one-on-ones [versus a Northern Colorado offensive lineman].
"After that, Coach Elston discussed what he saw and watched some tape -- different things that they do [at Notre Dame] and it was just a really good session. It was fantastic."
Later in the day, Keanaaina had a home visit scheduled with Elston and Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
"[Coach Elston and I] talked about the signing day procedures and how that all works," recalled Keanaaina. "We walked through that, and then Coach Kelly came in. We sat on the couch and just start talking, about everything -- football, life and the future. It was a great time."
Looking across your living room and seeing Kelly on your couch has to be a very unique moment, and it was one that Keanaaina won't forget.
"It was amazing," he said. "It was a really weird feeling; I was pretty nervous before today -- especially about working out in front of Coach Elston for the first time. It was a little nerve-wracking, but I'm really happy about how the day went. I felt very comfortable with it."
The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder committed to Notre Dame in February and had a long list of reasons of why he picked the Irish. And as a commitment for nine months, the answer to the question "Why Notre Dame?" has evolved.
"It's the same things, but it just keeps getting better and things are added on," Keanaaina explained. "I really see the dedication Coach Elston has with his D-linemen. It's a family there. They will push you when they need to, but it's a loving group."
Keanaaina took his Notre Dame official visit in April, and he returned to watch the Irish's defensive line take over the game in a 35-20 triumph versus Virginia.
"It was an amazing game for the defensive line," he said. "It was fantastic to watch the D-line play. That was a dream come true for them, taking over the game."
Keanaaina will sign with Notre Dame on Dec. 18 and one month later to the day, he will play in the Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Fellow Notre Dame commits Michael Carmody, Chris Tyree and Jordan Botelho will also be participating in the game.
"I'm excited to meet them in general and get to know the rest of the class that's going there with me," Keanaaina said.