With 247Sports releasing their final class of 2023 recruiting rankings, we look at a handful of underrated recruits for Notre Dame football. The most obvious to me is the high school Butkus Award winner Drayk Bowen, but others also stand out.
Notre Dame football signee – Drayk Bowen
Drayk ended up ranked as the 217th overall player in the class of 2023 and the 20th-ranked linebacker according to 247’s rankings. A genuinely shocking ranking considering he won the award for best high school linebacker in the nation. While he played injured all year, his speed and explosiveness may have been down slightly, but he still made play after play.
Bowen started his career ranked as the 61st overall player in the class according to the history in his recruiting profile. From there, he climbed to 48th before committing to the Irish before dropping to 217th between his commitment date and now. He had one of the most productive years at linebacker in the class, yet he fell in the rankings. A truly bizarre decision from 247Sports that I would love to get some clarity on.
Notre Dame football signee – Christian Gray
Another player rated higher in the composite, a rating of all the recruiting sites rankings combined, than in the 247Sports rankings. Still, his 247Sports ranking is 203rd overall, 100 spots lower than he’s ranked in the composite. It’s fair to say no recruiting site is perfect, but this seems like another pretty obvious miss, in my opinion.
Gray has solid size with excellent length for the cornerback position and reminds me a lot of Benjamin Morrison. Both players, as prospects, have similar measurements and dimensions yet play the position with much fluidity and athleticism. If the cornerback position didn’t seem like such a lock this year with Morrison, Hart, Mickey, and others, I’d have Gray listed as one of my highest-impact freshmen for Notre Dame football. Still, I expect him to have a fantastic career.
Notre Dame football signee – Jaden Greathouse
Jaden’s ranking is an instance of a recruiting site putting too much stock into 40 times. Yes, speed can be critical at the wide-receiver position. But, no, it’s not everything. I’ve said this numerous times, but I recall watching Greathouse in his junior season Texas high school championship game against none other than Peyton Bowen. With respect to Bowen and Denton Guyer, Greathouse thoroughly dominated them in every aspect of the game.
He looked like the best player on the field without question and someone I kept thinking to myself Notre Dame would be lucky to land. At that time, I don’t think they were even recruiting him too heavily, yet fast forward a couple of years, and here we are. Greathouse is a player that will make an impact in his first year. Even with Merriweather, Styles, Thomas, and Smith, Greathouse should get playing time and will excel if he does.
I’m not sure I remember a receiver heading into the college level to play for Notre Dame football with as much polish as Jaden. It remains to be seen if he gets a chance, but his stock will explode should he see the opportunity. In a 1v1 matchup in the same game against Denton Guyer, he was lined up against LSU commit Ryan Yaites. Jaden cooked Yaites off the line, made the semi-contested catch, and then proceeded to create foot-speed separation in a race to the endzone. Yaites is the 45th-ranked player in Texas, and Greathouse the 54th.
I appreciate 247Sports and all the hard work they put into their rankings. That said, it’s hard to get every ranking right. Time will tell, but we’ll look back in a few years and see these three players as far too underrated.