WHAT NOTRE DAME HAS
Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley four-star Isaiah Robinson put Notre Dame’s commitment list into double-digits with his verbal pledge on Friday.
Notre Dame took the lead in Robertson’s recruitment when it offered earlier this month. Robertson’s top six schools were Illinois, Iowa, Notre Dame, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. Other offers included Cincinnati, Iowa State, Maryland, Minnesota and Syracuse.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete is ranked as a wide receiver but was recruited by Notre Dame as an athlete. The Irish project Robertson to begin his college career on defense as a safety. His ball skills, size and physicality rank among his best attributes.
As a junior, Robertson had 50 receptions for 803 yards and nine touchdowns. On defense, he had 81 tackles and four interceptions.
Robertson is a Scout 300 prospect, ranked 299 overall. Scout ranks him as the 43rd wide receiver and seventh receiver in the Midwest.
Notre Dame currently has the No. 3 overall class in 2017 behind Ohio State and Oklahoma.
WHY IT MATTERS
Robertson is Notre Dame’s first defensive back commitment in 2017.
He first visited campus last fall for the USC game. Afterwards, he told Irish Illustrated it was “one of the best games (he’s) ever seen.”
He returned in January for Notre Dame’s first Junior Day of the year and was back on campus again in April.
Notre Dame had the luxury of taking its time in its evaluation of Robertson before offering. The staff saw what they needed on film and in-person to feel comfortable pulling the trigger with an offer in early April, knowing a commitment could come at any time thereafter.
Robertson’s size, positional versatility and physical tools gives Notre Dame plenty to like from a potential fit standpoint.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WANTS
Notre Dame wants to sign two safeties this cycle. A total of four defensive backs is the target number.
Senior Max Redfield returns for his final year of eligibility and is expected to start at free safety, though mid-year enrollee Devin Studstill is challenging for significant playing time at the position.
Drue Tranquill is back to 100 percent after suffering his second ACL tear last fall. He’s expected to receive the start at strong-side safety. Sixth-year Avery Sebastian will provide depth.
Nicco Fertitta enters his sophomore season with the projection of impacting special teams more so than the safety lineup. He ran at third-team free safety during spring practice.
Notre Dame signed seven defensive backs last cycle, but 6-foot-2, 190-pound strong-side safety D.J. Morgan has promising potential to transition to linebacker early in his career.
Jalen Elliott (free safety) and Spencer Perry (strong-side) are expected to play this fall. Perry was also a mid-year enrollee.
Donte Vaughn projects at cornerback but could receive reps at safety. Likewise, Elliott could cross-train at cornerback.