Things seemed to have been heating up quickly between Folsom (Calif.) High School 2023 wide receiver Rico Flores Jr. and the Notre Dame coaching staff. The timeline has been made very clear, Flores will be making his first trip to South Bend next month, taking an official visit from June 10-12.
Less than a month later, on July 3rd, the California standout is set to make his college decision known. Flores spoke with Ducks Digest publisher Max Torres about his finalists, and Torres shared his comments with Irish Breakdown.
That commitment date has been one that has been set in stone for a long time. It is something very important to Flores and his family.
“It is my uncle’s birthday,” Flores explained. “He passed away so I have had that date set forever. Even before I got my first offer, that has been the plan. He was one of my biggest supporters.”
He recently put out a final three schools, including the Irish, Georgia, and Ohio State in the final group. In a recent interview, Flores spoke about what makes each destination appealing to him as a potential fit.
Flores on his potential fit with Notre Dame:
“Notre Dame, there is just great people there. It’s not a four-year plan. It is a 40-year plan. You have great connections when you get done with football and they have big connections in California too, like a lot of alumni. They have big businesses and things like that.”
Flores on his potential fit with Georgia:
“Georgia, shoot I just like how they get gritty down there. They show that oomph and you know you need to work. It is all about grind down there. Not saying the other two aren’t but it’s the South. It is just how they roll and their persona is.”
Flores on his potential fit with Ohio State:
“I love everything about Ohio State, from Coach (Brian) Hartline, Coach (Ryan) Day, Coach Wilson… everybody. They feel welcoming. When I went there, they brought me in with open arms.”
Even while highlighting each team, Flores made it well known that a decision has not been made yet. Each of the three schools remains in consideration.
“I like all three of them though,” Flores explained. “They are really like neck and neck right now.”
Leading up to the final decision, Flores already has his travel plans set. While he has not been in South Bend yet, he intends to make that trip before he makes the pick. This is an important stretch for the Notre Dame program to close.
“The only one of them that I haven’t been to is Notre Dame,” Flores noted. “I go there on June 10th for an official. The week after that I am going to Georgia on the 17th. Then my last week I am going to Ohio State (June 24-26).”
Flores has been very forthcoming about his criteria for picking a perfect school. It isn’t just about what happens on the football field. He understands the full picture - and hopes to get a good indication if South Bend is the right place for him next month.
“Just the atmosphere outside of football really because you only have football for a couple of months, then there’s life,” he explained. “You have life outside of football so I just want to see what that is like. I just want to see if I can see myself there, walking on campus and in the hallways - stuff like that.
“Ultimately, I want to find somewhere that feels like home, really a home away from home,” he continued. “Where they make you feel like home and what is the best opportunity for me.”
Notre Dame has made Flores a clear priority down the stretch. The staff has worked hard in this one and he was incredibly appreciative of their efforts. They have put themselves in a terrific position to close.
“(Our relationship) is really strong,” Flores said. “Talking to both of them, they don’t even feel like coaches. They bring the realness. You talk to some coaches and they have that coach's persona, it isn’t really authentic. Me and them have a close bond. Coach (Chansi) Stuckey just came to my school on Friday. Him and Chad (Bowden) came out to visit, see practice and stuff like that.”
Just this week Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees was by the school to see the wide receiver target.
Flores is coming off of a dynamic Junior campaign. He paced the Folsom squad with 1,157 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 81 receptions. He also took his lone carry 52 yards, while also moonlighting as the team’s main kick and punt returner, averaging 31.4 and 13.1 yards per return respectively. He took one kickoff back for a touchdown.
He is a consensus four-star recruit across the board. Flores currently sits as the No. 155 player overall and No. 23 wide receiver in the 2023 class. He also ranks as the No. 11 player in the state of California, a state that Notre Dame has had some success in the past.
Notre Dame, Ohio State and Georgia have separated themselves amongst a long list of prospective schools. Some of his other premier offers include Alabama, LSU, Texas, USC, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, UCLA, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Washington State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal, Louisville, and Arizona several others.
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