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.
Top100 DB Houston Griffith has de-committed from #FSU. #NotreDame looks to be in good shape for the Under Armour All-American https://t.co/w9fbdzyZGH #IrishIllustrated @247Sports pic.twitter.com/SIqQSaNAhu
— Tom Loy (@TomLoy247) November 30, 2017
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.
As word spread, a couple of current Notre Dame commits took to Twitter to encourage Griffith to join the Irish class.
You already know the deal ?? https://t.co/1LheHWifln
— Derrik Allen (@DsmoothAllen) November 30, 2017
???you know where to come family https://t.co/9KGTwZ1ht2
— Micah Jones (@mej2018) November 30, 2017
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.