Jafar Armstrong knew plenty about Notre Dame’s past before his official visit.
The three-star receiver from Bishop Miege in Kansas played for former Irish All-American Tim Grunhard, now an assistant with the program. He teamed with Grunhard’s son Colin, who will be a preferred walk-on for the Irish next season. Armstrong’s quarterback was junior Carter Putz, who will be attending Notre Dame to play baseball.
“If it wasn’t for coach Grunhard, Notre Dame probably wouldn’t have even looked at me,” Armstrong said. “I can’t thank him enough for putting me out there to the team. And to have Colin, one of my best friends going there, you know somebody already going into college.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound athlete backed off his Missouri commitment on Sunday afternoon and made his flip official hours later after talking it over with his parents. Getting to that point said more about where Notre Dame is going than where it’s been.
New starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush hosted Armstrong on the visit. New receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander got in the film room with Armstrong. And as much as Brian Kelly sitting down one-on-one with Armstrong’s father helped get the family comfortable with Notre Dame, it was those newer fixtures around the Gug that drove the visit.
“Not only (Wimbush), all the guys, I can relate to,” Armstrong said. “Same personality. Guys who have two goals, be the best they can academically and athletically. Brandon is going to start for them next year, great guy, great leader who learned from some great guys. It’s going to be exciting to see how he takes the role of QB1 and I’m excited to play with him.”
Alexander told Armstrong that he projects at the X-receiver spot, backing up Equanimeous St. Brown and Chase Claypool. The three-star hopes to get into that rotation this fall, helping recharge the Irish offense under incoming coordinator Chip Long.
Armstrong posted 54 catches for 1,277 yards and 21 receiving touchdowns last season.
“I sat down with the coaches for a long time in the film room, breaking down what they’re about,” Armstrong said. “I fit what they’re trying to do personnel-wise. Coach Alexander talked about getting us right and how he’s excited to teach us.”
In addition to meeting with the coaching staff, mixing with players and going to Ruth’s Chris on Saturday night, Armstrong also met with admissions and the Mendoza College of Business.
While the Irish often have to work to convince prospects they can make it in the classroom here, Armstrong needed no such reassurance.
“We have all the tutors, all to help you get a Notre Dame degree,” Armstrong said. “If you really can’t sustain a degree from Notre Dame as a football player, it’s your fault. Everyone here is smart. You’re not the only one in the books. Everyone is doing the exact same work, but you have the advantage with all that support.
“There’s no reason why if football doesn’t work out why you couldn’t come out of Notre Dame making more money than you would just playing football. You just can’t pass up on an opportunity like this.
“In all honesty, you’d be idiotic to not go there for free.”