Notre Dame football could be done at recruting at safety for 2019 with two commits in the class, but don’t be surprised if they chase some big fish to round out the cycle.
Safety has been a major talking point for Irish fans the past several seasons. Overall, the back end of the defense has under-performed and been under-recruited for too long, but that looks to be changing. In 2018, Notre Dame football landed blue chip recruits all over the secondary, and in 2019 the class is nearly complete with two top targets. The Irish coaching staff has to like where they sit going forward at safety.
Notre Dame returns its entire safety unit from last season while also adding an influx of talent. Senior Nick Coleman will again compete for a starting job along with juniors Devin Studstill and Jalen Elliott.
However, these three won’t be handed the job like in 2017. Notre Dame welcomes three freshman to the squad in 2018 — two of which were top 150 recruits — and one has already completed a semester on campus. Houston Griffith and Derrik Allen are two of the best secondary prospects Notre Dame has landed in a long time. They will surely fight for playing time.
Alohi Gilman is another important piece to the safety puzzle. After sitting out his sophomore season due to transfer restrictions, he is now eligible to play. If Brian Kelly’s comments and Gilman’s spring game performance hold any merit, Gilman will start on September 1st.
2019 Numbers Outlook
The Irish lose Nick Coleman and special teams ace Nicco Fertitta after this season, but will again return the majority of the secondary. On top of that, the coaching staff has already received two verbals from 2019 recruits.
Litchfield Ajavon and Kyle Hamilton are both highly coveted recruits and committed to Notre Dame three days apart.
Early on in the process, Ajavon was coveted by Clemson, Michigan and Georgia, making this a tremendous recruiting win. The same can be said for Hamilton. Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Stanford and many others were pushing hard, but Notre Dame held all of them off.
With these two firmly in the class, Notre Dame can set their sites on high for the remainder of the cycle. It will also help the staff get a head start on 2020 recruiting. Look for Notre Dame to chase some top notch recruits, but 2019 safety recruiting is no longer a need.
Names to Know
Notre Dame will continue to push for top talent and DeMatha Catholic High School product, Nick Cross, who fits that bill. He is another guy receiving interest from nearly everyone. Ohio State seems to be the leader in this race, but Notre Dame has a puncher’s chance. The longer he stay uncommitted to the Buckeyes, the better for Notre Dame.
The staff would also love to land Raymond Woodie III out of Tallahassee, Florida. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, Woodie’s dad is on the Florida State staff, and was formely on the Oregon staff with Willie Taggert. Florida State is the leader in the clubhouse, but Woodie maintains other schools are under discussion.
Landing one of these two recruits is a priority of the coaching staff, but if they go into 2019 with only Ajavon and Hamilton, they will be more than thrilled.
Once a position of major weakness, safety should now hopefully be a strength in South Bend for years to come.