According to multiple recruiting services, cornerback Bennett Okotcha has switched his verbal commitment to Oklahoma and will sign with the Sooners on National Signing Day this Wednesday. The loss leaves Notre Dame with 22 verbal commitments two days before Signing Day.
Notre Dame has had good luck with decommitments this year with the Irish staff bringing two recruits who decommitted from Notre Dame (Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt) back into the fold, but reportedly have not been able to hang on to Okotcha after previously gaining his commitment by getting him to decommit from Wisconsin.
While the Irish staff was able to work wonders with Lynch and Tuitt, but will have a much more difficult time trying to flip Okotcha back to Notre Dame with only two days until Signing Day. Complicating matter for the Irish coaches is the fact that we are currently in a “dead period” of recruiting during which in-person visits are not allowed. When Tuitt flipped to Georgia Tech momentarily, almost the entire Irish defensive coaching staff along with Kelly made an in-home visit with Tuitt to get him back in the fold. That option is not available to the staff in this instance.
If Okotcha ends up signing with Oklahoma on Wednesday, Notre Dame will still have two corners and two safeties in this class – Jalen Brown and Josh Atkinson at corner and Eliar Hardy and Mathias Farley at safety.
In a move that may be related to Okotcha’s decommitment, sophomore to be Bennett Jackson has reportedly moved from wide receiver to cornerback. With an abundance of wide receivers on the team along with incoming freshman George Atkinson and Davaris Daniels and a shortage of defensive backs, the move makes sense – especially with Okotcha’s flip to Oklahoma.
Notre Dame’s cornerback depth now looks like this:
- 5th Year: Gary Gray
- Seniors: Robert Blanton
- Juniors: None
- Sophomores: Lo Wood, Bennett Jackson
- Freshman: Josh Atkinson, Jalen Brown
Even if Okotcha hadn’t flipped it seems possible Jackson would have moved to corner with such a lack of depth with eligibility remaining. It will also now become important for Notre Dame to bring in some impact corners next year who can play early if need be.