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If Eli Raridon was forced to pick out one bad thing about his official visit to Notre Dame last weekend, he might be pondering the topic for a few hours.

From the moment he stepped on the plane to head to campus, which top Irish safety target Xavier Nwankpa was also on, to his final goodbye, Raridon loved the Notre Dame official visit experience.

Raridon lived at Notre Dame while he was a baby. His father, Scott Raridon Jr., was an offensive lineman in the early 2000s while raising Eli. Scott Raridon Sr. was a former strength and conditioning coach for Notre Dame in the late 80s under Lou Holtz.

Notre Dame football is in the Raridon family business at this point, and all three generations of the Raridon golden domers were in South Bend for the weekend official visit.

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The Iowa tight end and Fighting Irish legacy recruit loved every second of his official visit.
The Iowa tight end and Fighting Irish legacy recruit loved every second of his official visit.

“I really enjoyed having them on my trip,” Raridon said. “They hadn’t seen the football part of things for a while, so they were really impressed to see all of the renovations. They loved the coaches and really happy with the visit.

The West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley class of 2022 tight end committed to Notre Dame May 2, a couple months after he received his offer from the Fighting Irish. Position coach John McNulty and Raridon have built a strong connection, and they had a great time meeting each other for the first time over the weekend.

“It was awesome; he’s such a great guy,” Raridon said. “Every player loves him – even the non-tight ends. I couldn’t be happier getting him as my position coach. We get along really well. We’ve had some great talks. He’s such a genuine guy and knows what he’s talking about.”

Raridon loved talking with other coaches on the Notre Dame staff as well. He spent plenty of time recruiting a trio of the uncommitted prospects on campus in wide receiver Elic Ayomanor, defensive end Cyrus Moss and safety Xavier Nwankpa.

“They’re all super nice guys,” Raridon added.

Although there might be more highlights of the visit than Raridon can count, the biggest one of all might have been meeting four of his fellow commits in the 2022 class.

“I’m really happy with all of the commits,” he said. “We got along really well, and I’m excited to be their teammate.”

On Friday, Raridon received plenty of details about Notre Dame, whether that was an academic presentation or sitting in position rooms.

“It was fun,” he said. “We listened to a lot of information. Coach Kelly talked to us, and it was great seeing him for the first time.

“My favorite part of Friday was meeting the players – Michael Mayer, Kevin Bauman, Mitchell Evans all of those guys. I’m really happy with the situation of the great guys I’ll be around in the future.”

Saturday was filled with fun activities for Raridon, including a photoshoot, which is always a hit with the recruits.

“They knocked it out of the park last weekend,” he added.

Raridon has been in contact with Atlanta Westminster tight end Holden Staes for the past couple of months. They committed to the Irish within a week of each other, and they met for the first time last weekend.

“We spent a lot of time together and really got along,” Raridon said. “We’re both really excited to be teammates and continue the tight end tradition. It was an awesome time with him. He’s a great guy.”

The 6-6, 220-pounder sat down with head coach Brian Kelly during his visit too.

“When he talks, you can just tell that he really knows what he’s talking about,” said Raridon. “He’s a very professional guy and makes very good points about why you should go to Notre Dame and what it’s going to be like. We had a great conversation with him in his office.”

Rivals ranks Raridon as the nation’s No. 22 tight end and the No. 5 player from the state of Iowa for the 2022 class.


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