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Irish A-to-Z: Jafar Armstrong

Notre Dame flipped three-star Jafar Armstrong during the last cycle’s final days. How he fits into the receiver depth might take a couple seasons to know.

National Ranking: A three-star on Scout, ESPN and Rivals, Armstrong rates among the least-regarded receiver gets of the Brian Kelly era. In fact, the only wide out ranked lower than Armstrong at his position was Kevin Stepherson. Obviously, that was a rankings miss. The 247 network rated Armstrong highest as a four-star and No. 33 among wide outs. That’s a full 43 spots higher among receivers than ESPN and 74 slots higher than on Scout.

Irish Illustrated Rank: We pegged Armstrong as the 15th-best prospect in Notre Dame’s class, falling between Michael Young and David Adams. Armstrong got a high rank of No. 6 (Tim O’Malley) and a low mark of No. 19.

Position: Receiver, likely the X spot

Likelihood of Freshman Red Shirt: Medium

2017 Path To Playing Time

It’s hard to see how Armstrong gets into the receiver rotation no matter where he aligns, but the climb looks particularly steep at the X position. There’s a chance Armstrong could run with the third team during his first training camp practice. That’s the good news. The bad is Equanimeous St. Brown and Chase Claypool might be in front of him. Armstrong won’t get any high level reps if that’s the case.

But the Irish need a boost of speed on special teams, likely replacing a few plodders in the coverage units. Armstrong can help there right away. The Missouri product has straight-line burst, part of the reason why he averaged 23.6 yards per catch as a senior at Bishop Miege. On the track as a junior, Armstrong won state titles in the 100 (10.83), 200 (22.13) and 4x100 relay.

Long Term Projection

Notre Dame needs receivers who can run really fast while also tracking the football. Armstrong did both during his high school career. If he can translate that to Notre Dame, he’ll have a solid career after Equanimeous St. Brown departs, perhaps after this season. It’s just too hard to know how Armstrong will stack up with the talent already here before he stacks up against it. And maybe more importantly, if the Irish bring in a banner class of receivers this cycle a la Braden Lenzy and Kevin Austin, does Armstrong stay ahead of those potentially elite future teammates?

Player Comparison

D.J. Hord came from the same hometown as Armstrong but starred at a different high school. Oddly, Hord’s bio also picked out his track skills, which were actually superior to Armstrong in terms of times in the 100 (10.39) and 200 (21.39) events. Hord also averaged more than 20 yards per catch in high school. Their builds are also similar in their average-ness, about 6-foot and about 180 pounds out of high school. Hord played in six games as a freshman, missed his sophomore year with a torn Achilles, then played in six games as a junior before transferring to Northern Iowa, where he played two seasons.

Quotable

“If anybody wants to play him man, he’s gonna win.” – Offensive coordinator Chip Long


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