Notre Dame added its second cornerback commitment for the class of 2020 in Landen Bartleson on Monday and a trend is starting to develop. Notre Dame has been targeting athletic, versatile athletes who have also excelled on the offensive side of the ball as after locking up Bartleson following a weekend visit.
Bartleson first visited Notre Dame in November for the Senior Day beat down of Florida State. It was on that trip that Bartleson earned his offer from the Notre Dame coaching staff. Since then he’s been rising up Notre Dame’s recruiting board.
Early in this year’s recruiting cycle though, Notre Dame had Jalen Kimber and Clark Phillips at the top of that board. When both soured on Notre Dame, Bartleson was where Notre Dame turned their attention.
Bartleson played running back for Boyle County HS in addition to starring in track, but his future at Notre Dame is in the defensive backfield.
In terms of profile, Bartleson checks all of the boxes that Notre Dame typically looks for in cornerback prospect. He’s got length and speed. Last summer Bartleson reportedly ran a 4.39 40 yard dash at an Ohio State camp.
Bartleson’s most notable offers were from Ohio State and Michigan, but he also secured scholarships from Tennessee, Louisville, Purdue, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. He carries a 3-star rating across the recruiting services and is ranked as a running back in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Notre Dame has had a lot of success recruiting offensive players who have the athletic skill set to play defense. Julian Love, Jalen Elliott, Matthias Farley, Keivarae Russell and Bennett Jackson all were either originally recruited on offense, or played a lot of offense during their prep careers.
In some cases, like Love, Farley, and Russell; that athleticism got them on the field early in their careers. In others like Jackson and Elliott; they needed a little more development before they were ready to excel. In all five cases though, Notre Dame developed them into quality starting caliber players. And in the case of Love, a unanimous All-American.
Just like Bartleson, fellow cornerback commitment Clarence Lewis is a versatile athlete who the staff is projecting on defense. Lewis also plays on the offensive side of the ball at wide receiver. They could be joined by another similarly versatile and athletic prospect in the near future.
Will Nixon is being recruited as a wide receiver by many schools, but the Irish are close to selling him on the idea of playing defense. Notre Dame also hosted Mississippi native Caleb Offord for an official visit this past weekend and Notre Dame is reportedly firmly in the lead for his services heading into his July 4th announcement.
Should Notre Dame lock up Nixon and Offord along with Bartleson and Lewis; it would give them four versatile defensive prospects. Where each one projects position wise won’t be ultimately determined until they all arrive on campus.