Notre Dame Recruiting ’18: Big Developments At Cornerback

The 2017 regular season has ended, which means 2018 recruiting moves to the forefront for the Notre Dame football program. On Wednesday night, the Irish coaches caught a nice jolt of optimism at one of the most important positions in the 2018 class. Cornerback Houston Griffith from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, announced on Twitter he was decommitting from Florida State, where he had been committed since October 8th. According to multiple recruiting sites, Notre Dame has jumped into the lead for his services, with 16 recruiting analysts at 247 Sports predicting Griffith to join the Irish class, as news of his defection from Florida State spread.

This is a pretty major development for the Notre Dame program and the 2018 recruiting effort. First, Griffith would represent the highest rated prospect in the current class. He’s ranked as the 60th player nationally and the 9th best corner. He’s been offered by every top program you can think of–Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma. This guy has got pedigree. Second, corner recruiting was of vital need this season and it was starting to look a little dire.

They currently have one commitment from someone projected to play corner at Notre Dame, recent pledge Joe Wilkins, and the prospects for more fell more into the category of “hopeful” than “confident”. Getting a player of Griffith’s caliber at a position of need would be a major coup.

Recruits React

As word spread, a couple of current Notre Dame commits took to Twitter to encourage Griffith to join the Irish class.

The nod from Derrik Allen is especially notable, as those two players could make up the best secondary combo to matriculate to Notre Dame in recent memory. They are both top 100 players, and both will attend and play in the US Army All-American Bowl in January.

While Griffith is projected to play corner in college, at 6-1, 198, he has the size and skill set to move to safety if need be. The prospect of the 6-2, 210 pound Allen playing alongside the ultra athletic Griffith in the back end is a delightful thought.

How Notre Dame Is Building

Taking a look at the last two classes, Notre Dame is building their team the way you’d want to build a championship caliber program, on the lines and up the middle.

Two years ago, the top players in the Irish class were offensive linemen Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg. Both figure to start on the offensive line next season with multiple seasons of eligibility remaining. That trend continued in 2017 with Notre Dame’s dual tight ends Brock Wright and Cole Kmet headlining the class (both of whom played this season), with offensive linemen Robert Hainsey and Josh Lugg right behind them. Hainsey obviously played a ton this year and figures to start somewhere next season, with Lugg open to compete at either tackle spot.

This season Notre Dame is topping out at safety and quarterback, and with the possible addition of Griffith, cornerback. They also have key commitments at defensive tackle and linebacker.

Offensive line, tight end, defensive line, and the secondary. There is some concern over whether the new offense under Chip Long will continue to feature the run. The way this team has accumulated talent on the lines and at tight end, there is good reason to think they will.

And on defense, we’ve already seen strong performances up front, with some lacking play at safety (where they didn’t intercept a pass this season) and one corner. The additions of Allen and Griffith, should it happen, would be huge.

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  1. It’s apparent that ND is in a far inferior league compared to Clemson.

    Clemson would easily put over sixty on ND.

      1. BGC,

        Cheery picking facts much? Like the way evangelicals employ Scripture?!

        I guess I just didn’t see Clemson put up almost forty points in three quarters against the U, the put up over forty against ND in about three quarters.

        I guess I’ll also overlook what Clemson has done over the last four years versus what ND has done in the same amount of time.

        The Bible says let your yes be yes and your no be no, so give me a clear yes or no, BGC. Given what you saw the last month of this season and the last half decade or so, do you really believe Clemson and ND are on the same or even similar levels? Let your yes be yes and your no be no, please.

        The truth will set you free, BGC, a really smart (God-)man said that!

      2. I’m not cherry picking facts. Major teams are losing…have lost, sometimes badly…all have sinned, even Alabama. So don’t assume that ND can’t beat anyone in the playoffs if they are playing well. I believe that. That’s all.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      3. BGC,

        Sure anything can happen.

        That’s not the point.

        Clemson has played in the National Championship game two straight years. Going for a third. How many times has ND played for a NC in the last twenty five years?

        By definition you’re cherry picking by pointing out the exemption to the rule.

        The truth, BGC, no matter how much you bury your head in the sand, is that Clemson and Alabama (as well as Ohio St. and others) are heads and shoulders above ND. Facts establish as much.

  2. The difference between the Clemson QB and BW is immense!

    The difference between the Clemson D and ND’s D is an abyss!

    The difference between Dabo and BK is huge!

      1. You would know all about lies and pain, “Ronna”! You would know better than most….

        How’s Butch?

        BTW, been meaning to ask: How did Mike “Dumblin” Tomlin take the news were were dumping him for “Big” Butch.

        I thought once you went black you never went back, “Ronna”?!

      2. These fickle, fuddled words confuse me, like will it rain today? Waste the hours with talking, talking.
        These twisted games we’re playing.

      3. “These fickle, fuddled words confuse me, like will it rain today? Waste the hours with talking, talking.
        These twisted games weโ€™re playing.”

        Says the “fickle,” “confused” purveyor o so many “fuddled words” on this site, who has wasted countless hours “talking, talking” nonsense.

        Indeed, “Ronna, “these twisted games” you’ve been playing for so long on here will hopefully end soon. Perhaps you can make your exit from here a New Year’s resolution!

      4. That’s OK by me, “Ronna”!

        Besides, I enjoy slapping you around too much, “jabroni”!

        You never did answer my question who was the better lover: Mike “Dumblin” or “Big” Butch?

        Oh la, la, “Ronna”!

      5. OK, “Ron,” I’ll take the bait.

        Why do you consider us allies? Please try to explain in a serious manner and not “in character”.

    1. Rob,

      I think the biggest difference between Bryant and Wimbush is that Clemson is better able to let Bryant build on his strengths and experience some growing pains. Bryant has 3 solid receivers and Renfrow is a go-to guy who gets open when Bryant needs a safety net. It’s a blessing for a young QB to have a guy who can consistently get open underneath.

      Bryant is a more polished passer, for sure–but those receivers provide him a lot of high percentage throws. When he misses an open target, it’s easier to swallow because he’s going to get more opportunities to target open receivers. When Wimbush misses an open receiver it stings, because he isn’t presented with as many.

      Wimbush was responsible for 30 TDs this year. He’s talented. But he needs more opportunities to make throws he is comfortable with. He struggles with the deep ball and, for whatever reason, that stupid wide receiver quick screen that never works. His best passes are bullets thrown over the middle of the field.

    1. Jeff, Perhaps a few of them would go elsewhere, but the bottom line is this: win this game and we probably pick up some guys in future years…guys who will be HS seniors next year…guys who are HS juniors now. In a bowl like these, everyone is watching…there are not regional games of interest on all over the place competing with us in the time slot…HS juniors and seniors who would normally watch Bama or Clemson or a Texas or Florida team, or Washington, etc., will be watching us: some of them rarely do follow us…but we’ll be just about the only game on in that time slot. It’s so important for us to play well (and hopefully, win!) There will be kids watching who never thought much about ND before. And kids can be impressed.
      Lord knows, we haven’t won a New Year’s Day bowl in well over 20 years! In fact, other than somehow beating LSU in a minor bowl – we have not performed well. If you are going to do a turnaround, you might as well turn every deficiency around.

      La Crosse, IN

    2. I tend to agree with Mr. Curme, here Jeff.

      One thing we forget is that the potential recruits are football players and FEW of them enjoy undefeated seasons. So they are accustomed to the “agony of defeat.”

      Further, there is a term in the atmosphere these days called “difference maker.” These kids may be persuaded, accurately or not, that they are the ones that can make the difference between defeat and victory.

      What SEEMS different this year is that the recruiting is very focused, partaiclarly on the defensive side of the football.
      Elko is on the verge of building something very special, which is needed in today’s wide open football.

      1. Just Frickn win the bowl game. 10 win seasons at ND should be the norm and when they are the depth chart will look better.

  3. I don’t know who it was directed at, but you may have the ” Bucky teeth syndrome” since you are so all knowing speaking ex cathedra on every post, Bucky was born just 5 months before I graduated from High School. By the way what happened to the Four Horsemen this week. It should have been changed to 3 horsemen anyway. No one deserving in 4th Qtr. Btw, I don’t follow ND ball I lead it, sap head.

    1. sloth is a deadly sin, in more ways than one. the self-exacting punishment visited on the slothful one far transcends any external remedies.

      I heard a rumor that they invented this thing called the internet. You can look things up, like FACTS, at least so goes the ghearsay…….

      1. I truly find it ironic that “Duranko,” the most self-righteous and judgmental person on here, would lecture anyone else on “mortal sins.”

        Last I checked, the Bible (a compendium of divinely inspired texts that I recommend everyone on here read!) confirms that we’re all sinners. As such, none of us can cast stones at anyone else since only someone who is perfect could do so.

        Now let the self-appointed “pontifex maximus” of ND football lecture us with all his Pharisaical wit.

        Pax vobis!

  4. BGC, its destiny. Cotton Bowl after all. My Sister is imploring my Wife and I to drive to the game, about a thousand miles. Would that be first time since Joe Montana got the chicken noodle soup at halftime and led the heroic second half comeback? Would the Irish be playing a Texas School, perhaps TCU or A&M ?

    1. Good grief, man do you follow Notre Dame football or not?

      Bucky Richardson.

      Then afterward two skirmishes against A&M in the early 90s.

      If you’re fact phobic or just lazy I can recommend some doctors, witch or otherwise.

      This thread is about recruiting by the way,

      1. To err is human…. To forgive…. certainly not “Duranko”!

        Gracious as always, “Duranko”!

      2. Going to, and winning a New Year’s Day (or Six) bowl IS RECRUITING!!!

        BGC ’77 ’82

    2. Greg – my wife is imploring us not to drive the 1000 miles, but I will anyway! My brother David and I drove to the Texas A & M Cotton Bowl…it was my third Cotton Bowl. RM was QB. I loved the fairgrounds…but I’d like to see the new stadium.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. She would never fly, never has flown, and anyway she lost her interest in football…she’s kind of a basketball fan.

        BGC ’77 ’82

  5. By the way, we may still have a shot at the Cotton Bowl, especially if Oklahoma buries TCU on Saturday.
    When it comes right down to it though, the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day would suit me just as well, even though technically it is not a “New Year’s Six Bowl”.

    Whichever we get an invite to, we need to win it to ratify that this was a special season, a solid turnaround, and to get into that double digit “win” club that strong programs always seem to have.

    We missed some opportunities in November…we need ratification in December (or January).

    The good news on the recruiting front only makes us stronger next year.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  6. 247Sports also has the crystal ball for Kyler Gordon, a 4-Star, top 200 player, and top 20 CB nationally trending towards ND. The secondary may well wind up being the best position group in the class.

    1. Now, jDriveSthND, that is a most intriguing final sentence. We need the “fair and balanced” Damian on here, as he is the most skilled of laying out both sides of an issue.

      These are all three conjectural, BUT (it is recruiting season, by definition conjecture open season) IF

      Petit-Frere and Luke Jones join Mabry and Dirksen

      AND IF
      Tuiapopo joins Lamb, Bauer and Oghoufo

      AND IF

      Keys joins Austin, Porter, and Jones

      Than OL, WR and LB could join the debate

      Frankly I hope Gordon, Keys, Petit Frere and Solomon join the roster and we can continue this debate until about 2022. With no clear resolution!

  7. Well, the short term future at OL is solid. Hainsey and Kraemer are now blooded, and Eichenberg, a rising junior, was just nosed out by those other two. It is real shock that Hainsey played, as Eichenberg, Kraemer, McGlinchey and Nelson did not play as frosh. Further, two redshirt OLS Lugg and Banks showed promise on the practice field as frosh.

    My contention is that while McGlinchey and Nelson, of course, will be missed, that the five people named above will be more than enough to constitute a quality OL.

    Defensive backfield play is now trickier. You have to have the quickness to cover the waterbugs, but there are the Stanfords, and NDs and perhaps Michigan, which load up on tall receivers.

    It’s cat and mouse. It was ever thus.

    On safety recruiting, Notre Dame is in play for two remarkable ’19s, Brian Williams and Litchfield Ajavon. Were those two to join, tentatively Griffith and Derrick Allen, the safety cadre would be good, not merely by Notre Dame standards but would be ON PAR with safety depth charts at Bama and LSU.

  8. Coach Kelly is a good recruiter. I do worry about major losses to refill in the “O” line. It would be nice if the replacements are ready, the way they often were for ARA and LOU. That would help a lot. And taller corners are where it’s at in modern college football. 6’1 and 6’2 is an improvement physically in the red zone from where we’ve been, especially if they have good timing and they can jump vertically.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  9. Watching these films on cornerbacks, it just makes me appreciate how tough a job they have. On slant patterns in particular the receiver always seems to have inside position which makes it so important that the linebackers are able to drop off so that the QB does not have an easy throw to the reciever. Toughest position by far is cornerback and to get some good ones that have played there forever seems really important.

    1. I agree with RayJay big time. I’ve always maintained that a good corner is often the best athlete on the field.

      1. And I agree with RayJay about the slant being tough to cover. I have always thought it was the hardest pass to stop when there is a QB who knows when and where to throw the ball.

  10. If we can sign Houston Griffith this will make Irish fans rest a lot easier. A player already offered by the biggies but not on our radar is Soph. Wonder DB Elias Ricks. Seems He is leaning to UCLA. Well, that’s OK as long as He doesn’t end up cross town. Maybe we can lure Him away from Westwood.

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