It was quite a weekend to be a Notre Dame sports fan. The women’s basketball team did what it does every year, and gave us a memorable weekend.
On Friday night the team defeated UConn in the final four for a 2nd consecutive year, and Muffet Mcgraw made twitter explode.
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) April 6, 2019
The team followed up Friday’s excitement with a heavy weight battle with Baylor, but unfortunately fell 82-81 after one of the most exciting 4th quarters of any sport that these eyes have ever seen.
With all the excitement of the Women’s basketball team going on, some people might have overlooked that that Football team received some pretty good news.
On Saturday night, as the Men’s final four was under way, 2020 4 star wide receiver Jordan Johnson tweeted out his commitment to play for the Irish.
— Jordan Johnson (@jjohnsonj1) April 6, 2019
Johnson is a unanimous 4 star recruit, and is ranked number 59 on the Rivals 100 for 2020. To put it simply he’s a HUGE get.
Hailing from St. Louis’s Desmet high school, the 6’2 speedster is the highest ranked wide receiver to sign with ND under Brian Kelly, and boy does it come at a time when the Irish need a big receiver recruit.
Johnson refrained from naming top schools throughout his recruitment, so Irish fans really never knew how serious his interest in the Irish was. And fans really got weary when teams like Ohio State, Florida, and Alabama became interested.
Notre Dame was definitely always in the running for Johnson, but people thought he would end up at one of the SEC schools or Ohio State due to recent trends in wide receiver recruiting.
It sounds like three ND assistant coaches were instrumental in luring Johnson. It started with wide receiver Coach Del Alexander.
A few months after receiving his scholarship offer, Johnson visited Notre Dame, and really liked the things Alexander had to say. The first impression was important because Florida and Ohio State both made strong pushes for Johnson last summer.
The Irish made Johnson a priority, and both Chip Long and Tommy Rees became heavily involved in pursuing the highly touted wide out.
It seems that Rees in particular made an impression as Johnson cited that Rees was someone he’d like to be on a team with.
Johnson returned to South Bend this weekend for his official visit, and all the work over the past year was enough for the Notre Dame coaches as Johnson committed on campus Saturday.
This commitment signifies one big thing to me: the Notre Dame coaching staff knows to make the next step in college football they need better athletes, specifically at the skill positions.
When Notre Dame got throttled by Alabama in 2012, it was clear to everyone that they just didn’t have the bodies up front to compete with teams like that.
Credit to the coaching staff for closing that gap a lot over the last 3 or 4 years, but the Clemson game highlighted a new reality for Notre Dame. The Irish have lacked elite athletes at skill positions.
Clemson had guys like Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins dominate Notre Dame in a way that was jaw dropping, and Notre Dame just didn’t have an answer. To be fair, they did the same to Alabama a little over a week later and no one will ever suggest Bama doesn’t have the horses for that race.
One Notre Dame report I read stated that if Notre Dame were to really compete at the top, then they need a Golden Tate and a Will Fuller on the field at the same time. Guys with real NFL talent.
It’s evident that the Irish coaching staff seems to agree because they’ve put a hug focus on recruiting wide receivers and running backs. That’s why they brought in Lance Taylor.
Johnson is a great start for ND in this mission, and the next player I believe they will really be focused on is 4 star RB Tirek Murphy. It’s believed by many experts that the Irish also have a strong shot at Murphy.
If the Irish are able to secure Murphy, the 2020 class will really begin to look like an elite class under Brian Kelly. Hopefully they can lock it up sooner rather than later.
PS ND QB commit Drew Pyne seems happy about the recent news.
— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) April 7, 2019