Irish impress Taylor-Yamanoha

Three-star receiver Chris Taylor-Yamanoha spent Saturday rekindling his relationship with Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and learning what the Irish have to offer. He wasn’t disappointed

Three-star receiver Chris Taylor-Yamanoha used a quick Midwest trip to help him trim his list of potential college destinations.

Taylor-Yamanoha and his father Rudy spent Friday at Louisville’s spring game then headed north to South Bend to attend Notre Dame’s annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday. Both schools are among his top five.

“Right now it’s Louisville and it depends what happens with Notre Dame, but they’d be up there, and Cal, Washington State and Boise State,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, Calif. “They’re all pretty even right now.”

Louisville has already extended a scholarship offer while the Irish are in the early stages of their recruitment of Taylor-Yamanoha, but new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford had been recruiting him to Boise State before jumping to South Bend. Other offers on the table include Arizona, Boston College, Cal, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State.

“Chris has a really good relationship with him,” Rudy Yamanoha said. “Coach Sanford actually recruited him when he was at Boise so Chris has known him since his sophomore year. Seeing him again was nice and that went very well.”

Sanford made it clear the Irish are interested but said Notre Dame must first determine where Taylor-Yamanoha projects at the next level. They hope to finalize that this spring when the Irish visit Rancho Cotate during the evaluation period.

“They’re really high on Chris right now, they just don’t know where they want to play him,” Rudy Yamanoha said. “They think he’s a great athlete on both sides of the ball. They just can’t determine if they want to play him on the offensive side or the defensive side. Definitely, there’s an offer probably coming down soon. I don’t know when; they didn’t give a time frame. They definitely want to see him in the spring time and take a look at him on the field and spend a little more time with him. Hopefully soon we can expect an offer from them.”

Taylor-Yamanoha doesn’t have a preference for where he plays, but after seeing the Irish offense in action he knows he could fit at Notre Dame.

“Both the quarterbacks were really good,” he said. “They got the receivers the ball a lot. It was fun. I loved the offense but it doesn’t matter to me. I like both (offense and defense).”

During the trip, Taylor-Yamanoha and his father toured campus and mingled with the Irish coaching staff.

Both were impressed by the overall package.

“It’s Notre Dame, you can’t beat that,” Rudy Yamanoha said. “It’s such a historic place. It has a history there and the academics that come along with the program and it’s faith based. Those three things really stood out for me and also for Chris.”

Taylor-Yamanoha caught 70 passes for 850 yards and 15 touchdowns last season to go with three interceptions.

“Chris is a phenomenal athlete,” said Rudy Yamanoha, who coaches running backs and defensive backs at Rancho Cotate. “I’ve coached him since he was in youth football. He’s just one of those gifted, talented athletes. If a coach was to look at him and see the things that he has, he has everything to offer on both sides of the ball. He can catch everything. Throw anything his way and he’ll catch it. He runs great routes and he has great speed and separation. On the other side of the ball he’s a lockdown corner with very good hips and movements and closing speed. He has a lot of things that you’d be looking for on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball.”

Taylor-Yamanoha has also visited Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, USC, Utah and Washington State.


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