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June 18, 2010It took awhile for Clay Burton to get serious about making an unofficial visit to Notre Dame.
The Irish coaching staff offered Burton, a defensive end/outside linebacker from Venice, Fla., back in February and he immediately put them right behind Clemson, to which he had already taken visits, in the race to land his services.
There was talk of an unofficial visit and at least one canceled trip. In the mean time Burton set an official visit for the Michigan game on Sept. 11.
But last week Burton and his uncle finally made the journey to South Bend, Ind., to see what wide receivers coach Tony Alford had been talking about. Burton came away impressed and moved Notre Dame up his list.
Now he's made it his leader for good. Burton committed to the Irish Friday, making the call to Alford and speaking with outside linebackers coach Kerry Cooks and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.
"I'm just blessed and honored to have the opportunity to player there," Burton said. "I counseled with my family and we decided it was the right time to make the decision. Now I'm just focused on my high school team."
Burton chose Notre Dame over offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, South Florida, Stanford, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Interest in the 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect came from the likes of Florida, Georgia, Miami and Michigan, among others.
Burton's visit to Notre Dame vaulted it ahead of Clemson, his long-time leader, and Georgia Tech. He had taken an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech as well.
Prior to his visit Burton couldn't have imagined making a commitment so quickly, which is a measure of how much the Irish did to impress. Everything from seeing his jersey in the locker room to the empty Notre Dame Stadium helped Burton move his timetable forward.
"I definitely never thought I'd be making this decision so early," Burton said. "Just after the visit with the coaching staff and the tradition and the education and football mixed together it just made my mind up easy for me. I'm just happy to make this decision."
With Burton's recruitment over -- he doesn't plan to take any visits and said he didn't foresee a scenario where he would waiver -- he plans to hit the recruiting trail for the good of his future program.
First order of business is putting in a call to a four-star defensive end from nearby Cape Coral, Fla.
"Definitely one of my good friends Aaron Lynch," Burton said. "He's definitely a big prospect for them. I'll get on the phone with him and start talking to him a little bit. No pressure on him or anything, just talking as friends and fellow recruits