Byrne visits ND, closes in on decision

The first visit to Notre Dame went so well for 2014 offensive tackle Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), he decided to make it back again a few months later.

Byrne was back in South Bend, Ind., Saturday for the Fighting Irish's game against Michigan. The first time he was on campus he picked up an offer from Notre Dame.

"It was pretty crazy the whole day," said Byrne, who arrived around 1 p.m. "I got to do the walk with the team in the stadium, had sideline passes for pregame, and the game in general -- the crowd was going crazy. It was awesome."

Byrne's visit went so well he said it would be unfair to pick one aspect as his favorite part of his trip. However, he enjoyed doing the player walk.

"It's one of those really cool traditions that are unique to Notre Dame," he said. "It's really cool to see all those people."

Notre Dame is in Byrne's top three along with Michigan and Ohio State, and Saturday's game showed Byrne that the Fighting Irish finally could be back among the country's top teams.

"That was my second trip," Byrne said. "I was there earlier in the summer for a camp and that's when I got offered and decided to come back for the game.

"I think it showed Coach [Brian] Kelly is starting to turn that program around, trying to get back winning ways. I'll be anxious to see how they finish out."

For Michigan, Byrne said the loss did not hurt them much. He acknowledged Denard Robinson had a bad game but did not hold against the coaches or school.

"I don't think you can blame it on the Michigan coaches or the program," he said. "It doesn't hurt my opinion on them."

With so many Saturday games, Byrne does not expect to make any more visits this season. After the 2012 season ends, Byrne wants to visit Illinois and Michigan State and then make a decision after that.