Robert Beal ranks among the most talented prospects Norcross head coach Keith Maloof has ever coached. That’s high praise for Notre Dame’s newest defensive end commit.
Maloof has coached high school football for 30 years in the talent-rich suburbs of Atlanta where he’s won multiple state championships in the Class 6-A division.
Beal committed to Notre Dame on Sunday night over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Florida State and Ohio State.
“He’s got every tool to be very, very good,” Maloof said. “Right away, it’s his presence that stands out. His size – his wingspan is incredible. His versatility, his speed. We’re going to keep growing him this year and next, but it’s going to be unbelievable when he has a year at the training table at Notre Dame.”
Maloof says Beal currently checks in at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds and has multiple roles in the Norcross defense.
“Mainly we are in a 4-3, but sometimes we’ll go to a 3-4 and drop him back,” Maloof said. “We like to rush him from different angles, line him up next to the linebackers and let him put a hand down and get after the quarterback in the pass.
“It depends on how Notre Dame is going to use him, whether he’s going to have a hand down or not. He can do either. He really doesn’t have a weakness. It’s a down-to-earth family and a great kid.”
Beal visited Notre Dame three times, most recently for Irish Invasion in June when he thought about committing while on campus. Beal opted to delay a decision in order to consider other options, primarily Florida State, Clemson and Georgia.
The latter is where former Norcross standout defensive end Lorenzo Carter excelled as a true freshman in 2014. Carter registered 41 tackles, five sacks and seven tackles for loss in five starts. Maloof sees a similarity between Carter and Beal but thinks Beal may have the higher upside.
“They’re both great players,” Maloof said. “I think the instant impact that (Carter) had at Georgia last year, Beal can have that at Notre Dame. I think he can be better than Lorenzo.”
Despite Maloof’s veteran status as high school coach, the recruiting business is something he leaves untouched.
“We have so many kids that go on to play college football that we let them handle it with their family,” Maloof said. “If it was up to me, I’d love for all of them to go to Georgia or Georgia Tech because those are the schools here. But I don’t get involved. I know that Robert loves Notre Dame.”
Beal fits the mold of a model student-athlete even though he doesn’t like to talk about it himself.
“He’s not big on being vocal,” Maloof said. “He’s still just a junior. He does everything right off the field, so his teammates are going to follow him because of that. There are some kids that talk a lot, but they don’t do what they’re supposed too away from football. Robert’s just the opposite.”