Staples: ‘ND would be No.1’
Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Ga., owns one of the most talented rosters in high school football. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght visited on Thursday.
Junior three-star running back Malik Staples is one of the headlining prospects Notre Dame is evaluating at Peachtree.
“I talk with Coach VanGorder a lot,” Staples said. “I could definitely see myself playing for him. He says Notre Dame has such a need for safety right now that he likes me on defense instead of as a running back. I actually am a big advocate of that.”
Staples, who plays both running back and safety in high school, says his mom has always preferred he’d play safety.
“I didn’t have a dad around growing up, so I always looked up to Ray Buchanan (former NFL pro-bowl selection), who has a son on our team (three-star cornerback Baylen Buchanan),” Staples said. “My mom saw his success in the NFL at corner and safety, and she knows that safeties have more longevity in the league than running backs do.”
Should Notre Dame pull the trigger on offering Staples, the Irish would become the team to beat.
“Notre Dame would be No. 1 for me if I was offered,” Staples said. “It’s such a great school. Knock on wood this doesn’t happen, but if I get hurt and can’t play football anymore, then I would still have my Notre Dame degree, which is outstanding. I could get a job anywhere with Notre Dame backing me up.”
Staples named Illinois as another program recruiting him for defense.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound prospect has decided not to name favorites until the conclusion of his junior year.
“I’m evaluating all of my options right now,” Staples said. “I will come out with a list this summer.”
Staples is a three-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 101 running back in the Class of 2016.
Other top prospects to play for Peachtree Ridge include senior four-star cornerback Nigel Warrior, four-star cornerback Chad Clay, three-star cornerback Baylen Buchanan and rising junior DeAngelo Gibbs, a five-star receiver.