When 5-star athlete Demetris Robertson visited Notre Dame back in September, he tweeted a photo of himself and Will Fuller with the caption “they want me to take his spot!” Four months later, the prospects of Robertson taking Fuller’s spot could be very real if the elite wide receiver decides to sign with the Irish next week now that Will Fuller is headed to the NFL.
When Robertson visited Notre Dame for the Texas game, the future of Will Fuller was still very undecided. Fuller was coming off the heals of a 1,000+ yard, 15 touchdown performance but no one knew what the Philadelphia would do if he replicated that effort in 2015. Even as late as November, Fuller told the media he had planned on coming back to Notre Dame for his senior season.
Between November and last week, however, Fuller had a change of heart and is headed to the NFL. Notre Dame meanwhile is still in hot pursuit of Robertson along with Stanford, Alabama, and Georgia. The Georgia native, however, has not yet visited his other three finalists although he was committed to Alabama for much of his junior season.
If Notre Dame is able to lure Robertson out of the South, they very well could have their replacement for Will Fuller on campus this summer. Possible Fuller replacements currently on the roster include Torii Hunter and Equanimeous St Brown, but Hunter might be tailor made for the slot receiver position and Brown, while supremely talented, doesn’t have Fuller’s game-breaking speed. But then again, who does?
With Robertson, Notre Dame would have a big play threat capable of playing early. Getting him to join the class of 2016 is going to be a tall order and would potentially be one of the biggest recruiting coups of the Brian Kelly Era. Considering Robertson hasn’t officially visited any of his other three finalists and Notre Dame’s official visit is so far in the rear view, the Irish will be at a bit of a disadvantage.
Notre Dame has pulled off some January and February magic during the Kelly Era before so winning Robertson’s signature on Signing Day wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented. Kelly and staff pulled off January recruiting coups for Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, and Ishaq Williams and surprised many when Eddie Vanderdoes selected the Irish on Signing Day three years ago. Of course, of those wins, only Tuitt ended up really panning out, but at the time, all were big time recruits with big time competition.
Robertson will be playing in the US Army All-American Bowl this weekend along with Notre Dame commitments Tommy Kraemer, John Shannon, and Tony Jones Jr and Notre Dame target and fellow wide receiver Javon McKinley. Hopefully Notre Dame’s contingent in San Antonio is working as hard on Robertson – and fellow 5-star recruit Caleb Kelly – as they are on the field this week.
Even with their help though, Notre Dame likely has an uphill battle on its hands. The selling point of being the next Will Fuller and the prospect of immediate playing time with all three wide receiver positions up for grabs in the fall with Fuller, Chris Brown, and Amir Carlisle all either out of eligibility or headed to the NFL, is a powerful selling point for Kelly and his staff. Will it be enough? If it is, Notre Dame could have a big play threat ready to step in for Fuller when they travel to Austin for the season opener.