Notre Dame football making big strides with son of former bitter rival

RJ Sermons is one of the top Notre Dame football targets for the 2026 class and the Irish are hoping to make some big strides with him in the short term.
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The Notre Dame football recruiting efforts when it comes to defensive back has been a bit up and down. There are certainly guys that the Irish are hoping to get to sign on the dotted line in December like Jadon Blair.

However, it might be a bigger accomplishment for Mike Mickens and company if they start making some really solid moves towards the 2026 class. One such move that would show that the Irish are getting stronger in that area would be hauling in 4-star defensive back RJ Sermons.

The good news there is that so far, the Notre Dame football team has made some progress in landing him. Speaking to Irish Breakdown, he made it clear the Irish are very much in the mix. However, they’re going to need to fight off an old rival who has a legacy in with Sermons.

Notre Dame football trying to pry away legacy recruit from old rival

"Right now the top schools for me would be USC, Notre Dame and Oregon,” Sermons said. "Each school brings great football. For USC and Notre Dame, it is also about the after football life. What I can do with the environment and connections I gain is important.”

The 247Sports Top 100 player is the son of USC running back Rod Sermons, who played for the Trojans from 1994 to 1997. 

RJ Sermons is getting love from plenty of Power 4 programs, but it seems as though there might be five teams that are really in the race at this point. USC is for now, considered the undisputed favorite. However, if Notre Dame football can convince him that the Irish education offers even more than USC when it comes to his post playing days, that could be the in.

With the 2026 prospect keeping that sort of thing in mind, it’s unlikely RJ Sermons is going to commit prematurely. That means this race is likely going to be a while yet.