The NCAA enacted a special dead period back in March amid the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move made any on or official campus official visits off-limits. A monster recruiting weekend in March was lost for Notre Dame and rescheduled visits for June later canceled. Notre Dame OL target Tristan Bounds, however, still found a way to visit Notre Dame this week all while staying within the NCAA rules.
Bounds visited both Notre Dame and Michigan, two of his top schools, this week with his father and sister. Members of the coaching staff from either school, however, were not part of the visit and that is why Bounds was able to see both campuses this week without either breaking any NCAA rules.
While the staffs at both schools did not accompany Bounds and his family on the visits, they were permitted to talk with him before he made the trip and provide some guidance/tips on what to look for. With campuses closed there wasn’t a whole lot he could see, but the visits did allow for him to at least see and get a feel for both campuses this week.
Bounds and his family drove eight hours to Ann Arbor on Monday and then got in the car again on Tuesday to visit Notre Dame. To this point, he hasn’t seen Virginia Tech or Texas yet, but is hopeful to see both before making a decision. His original timeframe for a decision was to be committed before his senior season. These very unofficial campus visits are a workaround to help him at least attempt to keep that timeline intact.
Notre Dame offered Bounds on May 1 so they are still in the very early stages of his recruitment, but the fact that he and his family made the trip to Notre Dame gives a pretty clear indication of his level of interest in the Irish.
Even before visiting Notre Dame this week, the Irish were in Bounds’s top 8 that he released on May 1 – the same day that Notre Dame offered him a scholarship.
— Tristan Bounds (@bounds_tristan) May 1, 2020
Bounds is an interesting prospect for the class of 2021 in that he was originally set to be apart of the 2020 recruiting cycle before repeating his junior year after transferring high schools. Now Bounds has collected over 20 scholarship offers with Michigan, UCLA, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and Texas representing some of the more prestigious programs to offer in addition to Notre Dame.
247Sports ranks Bounds as the #37 offensive tackle in the class of 2021 and the third overall prospect in the state of Connecticut. Unlike a Rocco Spindler or Nolan Rucci who are more polished and higher-rated prospects, Bounds is a more a raw prospect with a really high ceiling. Playing in Connecticut, he isn’t facing the most advanced competition, but his 6-8, 285 lbs frame has a lot of room to develop.
Notre Dame already has one elite tackle in this class with Blake Fisher so they have some flexibility to take a chance on a prospect like Bounds who has a high ceiling in the event they aren’t able to land another top ranked tackle like Rucci.
Offensive line recruiting has seen a lot of movement over the last two months with Notre Dame losing on Landon Tengwall to Penn State and Caleb Johnson to Auburn just last week while adding Pat Coogan back in April. Coogan and Fisher are the only offensive linemen in the class of 2021 at this point, but Notre Dame is looking at add at least two more.