Profile: C.J. Sanders
Position: Wide receiver
Location: Sherman Oaks, California, Notre Dame High School
Rank: Three-star, No. 39 wide receiver in 2015
"An explosive player, C.J. is great in space due to his quickness and ability to make guys miss. He is on the shorter side and an ideal inside receiver, but he is stronger than some may think. He really understands the game, he plays it fast, and this is an excellent pick up for the Irish." - National recruiting analyst Chad Simmons
Sanders could see playing time as a freshman on special teams. He's a fast learner, is a precise route-runner, has great vision, and possesses above average speed. Sanders caught 43 passes for 665 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also returned three punts for 113 yards and a score. That earned him the distinction of being a TSSAA Division II Class AA Mr. Football Back of the Year finalist.
Note: You'll find more in-depth player analysis in a film review to come this month.
It's safe to say that all around the commitment of C.J. Sanders to Notre Dame was a bit of a surprise. Sanders committed just days after his first visit to South Bend last week.
He chose the Irish over offers from the likes of California, Duke, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, and Vanderbilt. The runners- up in his decision were Stanford and USC.
Sanders, who currently lives in Brentwood, Tennessee and attends Brentwood Academy, will transfer to Notre Dame High for his senior year in California. Academics and the ideal offense for his playing style were the two largest factors in his decision.
Sanders visited Vanderbilt and Tennessee multiple times, as well as Ohio State before committing to Notre Dame.
Scott Booker was the primary recruiter in his commitment.
What this means for Notre Dame
With Jalen Guyton and C.J. Sanders on board for the Irish in the 2015 class and the Irish in a good position for a number of other wide outs (discussed below), Notre Dame could end up taking four at the position this year.
With Guyton possessing the versatility to play in the slot or outside as the X and Sanders a true slot man, Notre Dame could afford to add a speed-burner on the outside as well as a hybrid receiver with legit size to finish out the wide receiving corps for this class.
Other top prospects at the position include Miles Boykin (6'4" from Providence Catholic in Illinois), Cordell Broadus (will likely use Notre Dame as one of his five official visits), K.J. Hill (could potentially visit this summer), Christian Kirk (recently reestablished a good vibe with the Irish, solid potential he takes an official visit to Notre Dame), Malik Lovette (Californian who has the Irish high on his list), Adrian Miller (Bishop Dunne wide out offered this month), Ryan Newsome (visiting Notre Dame officially when Stanford comes to town), Alex Ofodile (Missouri legacy who likes the Irish but has the Sooners/Tigers in better position), Equanimeous St. Brown (has the Irish in his top three)
"Academics are something that's very important to me," Sanders said. "That will be the main factor in making my decision, but, with football, I want to see how the coaches plan on utilizing me in the offense. Location doesn't matter to me as much as finding the right place where I feel like I fit in and will be comfortable."
"When I see something I want, I don't see any point in holding back," Sanders said. "I visited Notre Dame this past weekend with my mom, step-dad and younger sister. After the visit, I was very impressed. I loved it. I thought it was the place for me. So, I prayed about it and talked it over with my mom. I woke up this morning, and knew what I wanted to do. I called Coach (Scott) Booker and then Coach (Brian) Kelly and told them I was committing."
"They are kind of switching up their offense," Sanders said. "With Everett Golson coming back and Blake Barnett coming in, they are going to be more of a spread offense and are going to utilize the slot wide receiver. I see a real opportunity to make a big difference in that offense."
"My dad played wide receiver and my step-dad played safety, so they both teach me different things I need to know about playing my position," Sanders said. "They've definitely helped shaped me to be who I am today. My dad's taught me a lot about work ethic and outworking everybody on the field. He also told me if I like something (a school), don't be scared to commit."
Notre Dame's wide receiver depth in 2014
Seniors - DaVaris Daniels, Amir Carlisle (medical RS)