It was a family affair this weekend for Oliver Martin.
The senior receiver from West High took a recruiting visit to Notre Dame with the entire Martin clan. His younger sister Ruby, an Olympic hopeful swimmer, was also on a Notre Dame recruiting visit.
The Fighting Irish were the most recent team to offer Martin this August — more than a month after Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State, the other three consensus favorites to land him.
"It was good," Martin said of his visit to South Bend, Ind. "Just wanted to go up and talk to the coaches because I haven’t talked to them — the head coach (Brian Kelly), the receiver coach (Mike Denbrock) — in person before, so I wanted to go talk to them and just see a game, see the campus, see the environment on game day.
“I wanted to talk to them about football and where I would fit in and stuff like that."
Did he like what he had to hear?
“Yes. Most of the time I do,” he said, laughing. “It was good conversations with both of them.”
And did he like the campus?
“It was really cool, really impressive," he said.
Next up on Martin’s hectic recruiting schedule is an unofficial visit to Michigan this Saturday. The Wolverines appeared to be the favorite to land Martin before Notre Dame started buzzing among recruiting circles recently.
But now that Ann Arbor, Mich., visit might not actually happen this weekend, Martin said.
“I think we might have scheduled that one a long time ago,” he said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to do it or not. We’ll see. I just kind of want to be at home for a weekend.”
If Martin does go to Ann Arbor this weekend, then he'll just have visits to Michigan State and Oregon remaining. He was slated to go to Eugene, Ore., two weekends ago, but he wanted to stay home to prepare for the West High vs. City High rivalry game.
Earlier this month, Allen Trieu, Midwest football recruiting manager at Scout.com, told HawkCentral.com that he thought Notre Dame was the dark horse to get Martin. The Fighting Irish started recruiting him later, Trieu said, so their recruiting pitches would all be fresher than those of Iowa, Michigan or Michigan State.
They don't appear to be the dark horse anymore.
247sports uses a prediction tool called the Crystal Ball, which is a poll that asks regional and national 247sports writers where they think a recruit will commit. It's usually pretty accurate.
Three weeks ago, 55 percent said Michigan and 45 percent said Michigan State. Now, 53 percent say Notre Dame, 33 percent say Michigan and 13 percent say Michigan State. This poll is by no means scientific, but it does indicate a clear upward tick in Notre Dame's recruiting momentum.
Iowa received zero percent of the vote in both instances, but it was also a zero for Notre Dame until very recently. Iowa is still very much in this race.
Bain covers preps, recruiting and Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.