Top ’17 pass rusher talks visit

Sophomore defensive end Robert Beal of Norcross (Ga.) High is loaded with potential and already holds an Alabama offer. He visited Notre Dame on Wednesday and owns family ties to the area.

The Irish hosted one of the top sophomore defensive ends from Georgia on Wednesday when Robert Beal of Norcross made the trip to Notre Dame with his parents, sister and uncle.

Beal, whose mother grew up in South Bend and grandmother still resides in the area, made it to campus in time to take in an early morning practice.

“I liked it a lot,” Beal said. “It was very up-tempo and fast.”

Beal spoke with Irish defensive line coach Keith Gilmore following practice, and he briefly met with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston.

“Coach Gilmore didn’t say anything about an offer, but he told me to keep my grades up and that he was coming by my school this spring to see me,” Beal said.

Following practice, Beal was given a tour of campus.

“My family loved it,” Beal said. “My favorite part was Touchdown Jesus.”

The 6-foot-4, 216-pound athlete touts offers from Alabama, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Toledo. The Seminoles could be one of the next programs to offer, according to Beal.

Beal classifies himself as a standup defensive end and says he’s familiar with comparisons being made between his game and that of former Norcross standout four-star Lorenzo Carter, now an outside linebacker at Georgia.

“I think we play pretty similar,” Beal said. “We play fast and hard.”

Scout national analyst Chad Simmons described Beal as a player: “He is athletic and he can get after the quarterback. He could project as a weak side rush end or a hybrid playing a mix of two- and three-point stance on the next level.”

Beal said he has one primary criterion he’s looking for in a future school.

“I want to feel at home,” Beal said. “If I’m not feeling at home, then I would never choose the school. Nothing else matters too, too much.”

With a grandmother that would be close by should he attend Notre Dame, does that play in the Irish’s favor?

“Yes, it does,” Beal said. “It would be nice to see her all the time and have some family close to me, you know?”

Georgia received a visit from Beal last month, and plans are in the works to take trips to Alabama and Clemson before June.

“I’m going to ride out (recruitment),” Beal said. “It would be too tough to decide before taking official visits and stuff like that.”


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