Notre Dame surprised Isaiah Robertson when it offered him a scholarship early this month during a spring practice visit.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete from Naperville, Ill., returned the favor Friday afternoon when he committed to the Irish.
“I know I said I would commit in the summer,” Robertson posted on Twitter. “However after talking with my parents and staying in deep prayer, I believe now is the best time for my commitment.
“At the end of the day my decision came down to who could develop me not only as a football player, but as a successful man without the game of football. So, it is with great honor to say that I am verbally committing to the University of Notre Dame.”
Robertson had visited Notre Dame in early April and receivers coach Mike Denbrock told him not to expect an offer going into that trip. Then Brian Kelly turned the tables by going all in on the Midwest athlete.
Most programs in Robertson’s final six – Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa and Vanderbilt – liked the Neuqua Valley product at wide receiver, but Notre Dame wants to give Robertson his first shot at safety. Robertson represents the first defensive back commitment for the Irish in the 2017 class and 10th commitment overall heading into the Blue-Gold Game weekend.
Notre Dame’s last five commitments have all come on defense. Considering Irish needs in the secondary, expect Robertson to stay there, a projection the four-star athlete is comfortable embracing.
“I like both,” Robertson told Irish Illustrated earlier this month. “I feel like I can play both at a high level and I have fun at both. I’ve been doing both for a long time, so it really doesn’t matter.”
Just last week Robertson said he was settled on that top six with no plans to rush a decision. He was set to see Wisconsin next weekend and wanted to set up visits to Vanderbilt, Penn State and Wisconsin. Instead, he’s off the board with Notre Dame short on scholarships at safety after signing four last cycle. That means the Irish won’t take more than two in this class and could settle with just one.
Scout.com ranks Robertson as the nation’s No. 299 overall prospect and No. 43 wide receiver. He’s the eighth four-star prospect in the class following tight ends Brock Wright and Cole Kmet, quarterback Avery Davis, tackle Josh Lugg, linebackers David Adams and Pete Werner, and guard Dillan Gibbons.
To put Robertson’s ranking in perspective year-over-year, he ranks higher on Scout.com than D.J. Morgan, Spencer Perry, Devin Studstill or Jalen Elliott.
In addition to that final six, Robertson also had offers from Iowa State, Maryland and Minnesota.
Michigan State evaluated Robertson but did not offer.
Robertson is expected to compete in a 7-on-7 tournament outside Chicago this weekend that will feature a handful of other Notre Dame targets. Irish Illustrated will be on hand to deliver highlights and a video interview with Notre Dame’s newest commitment.