Notre Dame picked up another huge commitment on Sunday when 4-star wide receiver Rico Flores from Sacramento, California, selected Notre Dame over Ohio State and Georgia. Flores is just the second receiver in the class of 2023, with the Irish looking for at least four this cycle following last year’s debacle.
Notre Dame needs to get the wide receiver position right in this recruiting cycle after losing out on CJ Williams and Amorion Walker the week of signing day. The disastrous end to the class no doubt played a role in Del Alexander being one of the few Brian Kelly assistants to neither land a role on Marcus Freeman’s staff nor get an offer to join Kelly in Baton Rouge. With Flores joining Braylon James, new receivers coach Chansi Stuckey is off to a great start in rebuilding a wide receiver room that badly needed an infusion of talent and depth.
Neither James nor Flores were very high on Notre Dame before Stuckey’s arrival and Freeman’s promotion to head coach. The two, however, did an excellent job in getting both to join the class and become fast friends. James and Flores toured Notre Dame officially on June 10 and reportedly built quite the rapport.
With Flores, Notre Dame adds an elite possession receiver to the offense. The term “possession receiver” can be seen as a diss, but it is anything but. It just means that Flores isn’t necessarily a deep threat first like Will Fuller or Braden Lenzy. He is, however, a high-volume receiver who will catch everything thrown his way and move the sticks. Rhema McKnight comes to mind as a Notre Dame player comp from the last 20 years. McKnight wasn’t a speed demon or much of a deep threat, but he was a weapon for Notre Dame in 2006.
As a junior for Folsom High School, Flores hauled in 81 catches for 1,157 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had one carry for 52 yards and had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Flores’s final three came down to Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Georgia. That is some good company to be in when recruiting receivers. After he visited Notre Dame, Flores canceled a trip to Georgia, and even before Ohio State went on a run of 5-star receivers in June, Flores was considered a heavy Notre Dame lean.
Flores is the fourth commitment for Notre Dame in the last week. Cam Williams started the party on Wednesday. OT Charles Jagusah followed suit on Thursday by selecting Notre Dame over Michigan. Cornerback Micah Bell joined in on Friday. The Irish hit a lul on Saturday before Flores joined the class.
Flores is an advanced receiver regarding his route running and understanding of the position. In addition, he is already an accomplished blocker in the run game, which could lead to early playing time in his collegiate career – especially with the lack of receivers on the roster for 2023 and beyond.
With Flores and James committed, Notre Dame’s attention turns to Ronin Hanafin and Jaden Greathouse. The Irish are believed to be the heavy favorites for both, but at the moment, neither has a commitment date set. Given the dire depth situation at receiver, Notre Dame could even attempt to sign five receivers this year. For now, though, Notre Dame would be thrilled if they could get Grearhouse and Hanafin to join Flores and James sooner rather than later.
Flores’s commitment gave Notre Dame a little bit of room ahead of Ohio State for the top spot in the 247 team class rankings. Notre Dame should also add to that lead later tonight with an expected commitment from cornerback Christain Gray, who announces later tonight. Every expert prediction for Gray points to Notre Dame currently.