When Notre Dame lost five players from the class of 2017 over the course of the season and into the off-season, a round of late offers went flying out of the Gug. Late offers usually mean reaches and gambles. When Jafar Armstrong committed to Notre Dame on Sunday, however, he gave Notre Dame an upgrade over the player whose decommitment opened the door for Armstrong’s late round offer.
Jordan Pouncey picked up an offer from Notre Dame following the Irish Invasion, but some recruiting experts and scouts on hand for the event questioned the Pouncey offer over some other players in attendance such as Mac Hippenhammer. Pouncey jumped on the offer though and Notre Dame cooled on several wide receiver recruits. That didn’t work out too well for Notre Dame after Pouncey decommitted earlier this month.
Enter Jafar Armstrong – a 6’1″, 185 lbs wide receiver from Kansas City. The Kansas native had been committed to neighboring Missouri when Notre Dame came calling, but the lure of playing for Notre Dame eventually won out with the 247Sports 4-star wide receiver committing to the Irish on Sunday. In the process, Armstrong gives Notre Dame an upgrade over the player he is replacing in this class.
Armstrong is a workmanlike receiver who just makes plays. He doesn’t jump off the screen with crazy ridiculous catches. He does, however, catch everything thrown his way and has some great top end speed when he gets in the open field. He’ll need to work on his burst off the line at the next level, but from a top end speed perspective, Armstrong has some wheels.
Pouncey was more of a raw prospect in need of more development. Don’t get me wrong, he has the skillset to turn out to be a good college receivers. In Armstrong, however, Notre Dame is getting a more refined route runner with better top end speed. At the end of the day, that’s an upgrade for Notre Dame.
Another area in which Armstrong offers Notre Dame an upgrade, not just over Pouncey, but perhaps over many of the current wide receivers, is his ability to make a play on the ball in the air. Notre Dame didn’t have a wide receiver who excelled at winning the battle for contested balls this fall, but in Armstrong’s senior season highlights below, you see him making a living on contested balls.
As a senior at Bishop Miege in Kansas City, Armstrong racked up 1,277 yards on 54 receptions with 21 touchdowns. He was nearly as prolific as a junior with another 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. By the end of his prep career, Amrstrong set the Kansas state record for receiving touchdowns with 45.
Notre Dame is very lucky to be adding Armstrong to the class of 2017 considering how late they became a player for him. Armstrong had been committed to Missouri since June and looked pretty set in that commitment until the Irish came calling. Heading into his official visit this weekend, he was still committed to Missouri. That changed this morning before he announced he will be attending Notre Dame.
Luckily for the Irish, they had a few connections with Armstrong that helped in eventually locking this one up. Bishop Miege’s offensive line coach is none other than former Notre Dame great offensive lineman Tim Grunhard. Grunhard’s son Colin, a high school teammate of Armstrong, announced last week that he would be attending Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on offensive lineman last week as well.
When Pouncey decommitted, Notre Dame made offers to several other wide receivers as well but were unable to win over any others. Mac Hippenhammer stuck with Penn State even though Notre Dame was his dream offer due to how late it came. Gavin Holmes entered the idea of Notre Dame for a bit before committing to Baylor.
Jafar Armstrong is the second wide receiver in this year’s class joining Michael Young. Notre Dame would desperately love to add a third to the mix in Oliver Martin, but things don’t look too good for the Irish there with Michigan’s late charge. Overall Notre Dame now has 18 commitments with Armstrong joining kicker Jonathan Doerer in committing to Notre Dame this weekend. With just over two days remaining until Signing Day, Notre Dame is still hoping to add to that total.
Notre Dame could add more recruits to their class tomorrow with safety Evan Fields announcing tomorrow evening and a decision from defensive end Jalen Harris possible on the heels of his weekend visit to Notre Dame.