Irish make the cut for McGraw

Defensive back Mattrell McGraw of talent-rich River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian, who holds close to 40 offers, talks about why Notre Dame makes his list of top schools after the Irish offered on Wednesday morning, what position(s) he's being recruiting as by Notre Dame, and when he plans to visit.

Defensive back Mattrell McGraw of River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian woke up to a Facebook message from Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks on Wednesday morning.

"It was crazy this morning, I just woke up and I had that message," McGraw said. "So, I called him and that's when he offered. The first time I spoke with Notre Dame was about three weeks about when the running backs coach (Tony Alford) came to our school to talk with Cameron (Sims) and I. He told me that it wasn't his call to offer me because he was the running backs coach, but that he was going to show my film to the right coach. I talked with Coach Cooks later that day."

McGraw recently trimmed his list of close to 40 offers to a top eight of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona State, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, and USC. Where does Notre Dame stand among his first cut of favorites?

"When I got that Notre Dame offer today, that puts them in my top group," McGraw said. "I plan on visiting there this summer or taking an official visit there. The reason I was hesitant to narrow my list of offers down at all was because of schools that could have offered later, like Notre Dame. I want to give all schools a fair chance. I don't plan on committing until late in the season or on National Signing Day."

McGraw mentioned both Notre Dame's football program and academic reputation as a reason the Irish were added to his top list of schools.

"Brian Kelly is a great coach," McGraw said. "I watched him when he was at Cincinnati. I also watched Notre Dame a lot last season because they were so successful, and I really liked Manti Te'o. I know they have success putting players in the NFL."

"Notre Dame is one of those schools that's always on the big stage. They are the Cowboys of college football and that's pretty cool. Their academics are really good, too. A degree from Notre Dame means a lot across the country, whether you settle down in Indiana or Florida."

McGraw can play both corner and safety, and he doesn't have a preference between the two.

"A lot of schools are recruiting me as both a cornerback and safety and that's what Notre Dame is doing," McGraw said. "I don't have a preference as long as I can help the team out. I played corner my freshman year and then my coach moved me to safety my sophomore year. At camps, I play both. Sometimes people tell me I'm better at corner, but then they see my pass coverage skills and safety and they like me there too."

"I'm a playmaker," McGraw said. "I always say most of the game-changers and momentum-shifters come from players with the ball in their hands, but I pride myself on being one of those guys on defense."

The 6-foot, 182-pound defensive back visited UCLA, Oregon, and Alabama this spring. He's still sorting things out for this summer.

"I don't have any visit plans for sure this summer," McGraw said. "I am supposed to go to a camp at Ohio State, but I'm not sure I can make that anymore. I am going to an Adidas camp in California in July and I'll probably visit USC then."

Though a decision is a ways away for McGraw, he has an idea of what he's looking for in a school.

"I want a place where I can focus on football, but also a place I can enjoy during the off-season so I'm not bored," McGraw said. "I want a stable coaching staff for sure and a place where I can get on the field and make plays. Academics are also important."

McGraw is currently ranked as a three-star prospect and as the No. 29 safety in 2014. Top Stories