Jafar Armstrong is a serious sleeper at both wide receiver and running back for Notre Dame football in 2018.
Last year at this time, Jafar Armstrong was a recent signee of the Notre Dame Football Program. After a successful career as a receiver at Bishop Miege High School near Kansas City, Missouri. Armstrong agreed to take his talents to South Bend. After not seeing any game action in 2017, Armstrong may just find a niche in the Irish offense in 2018.
In high school, Jafar made his mark as a receiver. For his career, he caught 172 passes for 3,744 yards and a state-record 45 receiving touchdowns. He accounted for 50 overall touchdowns in his career. At the time of his signing, Armstrong made it clear how excited he was to be part of the Irish:
This year, Armstrong will be cross-training between receiver and running back. In talking about Armstrong’s skillset, Brian Kelly has drawn comparison to former Notre Dame backs Theo Riddick and CJ Prosise. Both of the former backs used their careers at Notre Dame to land themselves in the NFL.
Cross-training at running back makes a lot of sense for Armstrong.
The Irish are short on running backs following the departure of Josh Adams and the dismissal of Deon McIntosh and CJ Holmes. The only running backs who saw action in 2017 and remain on the roster are Dexter Williams and Tony Jones, Jr. Both players — Williams, especially — struggled with their health at times in 2017.
It will be interesting to see both how Kelly and offensive coordinator Chip Long use the 6-3, 210 pound sophomore. Will Armstrong a nearly-every-down player the way Riddick and Prosise were? Will he share the field with Williams and/or Jones? Or, instead, will he see more some time as Notre Dame’s 3rd-down back? If so, will he be able to develop as a pass blocker when the Irish face blitz?
Armstrong being used in the backfield may be an indication of some more diversity in the Notre Dame offense. In CJ Prosise’s final season, the Irish utilized the jet sweep often to stretch the field, an element that was noticeable during Notre Dame’s offensive struggles in 2017.
Whatever the case, wanting to find time for Armstrong makes sense if your name is Brian Kelly or Chip Long. A sophomore, he is one of Notre Dame’s quickest players and can add the speed and toughness the Irish offense needs.