Put Bryson Jackson in that top group too.
The standout from St. Pius X in Houston, Texas rates in the Scout 300 and played in an offense that put up 65 touchdowns through the air last season.
Catching passes from blue-chip quarterback Grant Gunnell, who also holds a Notre Dame offer, Jackson snagged 69 balls for 1,607 yards for 21 scores. He averaged 23.3 yards per catch and 133.9 yards per game.
Jackson has become a national recruit with offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisville, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, TCU, Texas A&M, and many more.
The Irish rank among the programs showing him the most attention, with receivers coach Del Alexander expected at St. Pius X on Monday.
Notre Dame’s efforts are paying off.
“We pretty much talk every day now,” Jackson said. “Still, I haven’t made any top pics. I’m sitting down with my coach, getting ready to make a top 12 soon. We’re talking to (Notre Dame), I haven’t counted anybody out or in officially. We talk every day, so the connection is really good. Me and Grant and Austin Stogner are planning on going up to Notre Dame for a visit. We plan on getting up there this summer.”
The Notre Dame attention is coming straight from the top. That effort goes a long way with the dynamic wide out.
“The coach from Notre Dame that I’ve been pretty much hearing from every day is Brian Kelly, the head coach,” Jackson said. “He sent me my own ‘from Houston to South Bend’ edit and that was pretty cool. It’s cool hearing from a head coach, not just a player director. It means a lot, coming from a head coach and a guy who’s been in a winning program. That means a lot right there.
Notre Dame’s recruitment of Jackson dates back to Dec. 5 when the Irish offered. This has given Jackson plenty of time to do his homework on the Midwest program.
“My first thought is they were my first offer,” Jackson said. “That means a lot, for someone to believe in me and give me a chance to move on to the next level to play college ball. Also, the thing is Notre Dame has always been a great program in putting people in the next level. They sprout out a lot of things I like to see.”
Before Jackson’s teen years, he was aiming to get serious about baseball. In fact, he was originally planning on transferring to St. Pius X to focus on his baseball career.
The head football coach had other ideas.
“He went and watched my film and he told me, ‘you come here to St. Pius, I promise you you’ll be leaving with a football scholarship.’ After playing with a great quarterback who would get me the ball, it made me open my eyes and see that I wasn’t talented in only one sport, I was talented in multiple sports,” Jackson said. “Football has opened just as many sports as baseball. That’s why I want to keep both of them rolling as long as I can.”
With hopes of playing both football and baseball at the college level, Jackson assessed one of Notre Dame’s recent two-sport athletes during the 2016 season.
“Seeing Torii Hunter Jr. being able to play baseball also and still do football, it gives me hopes that if I decide to go to Notre Dame that I could do the same thing,” Jackson said. “Baseball is what I’ve been doing since I was a little kid so I’ve been hoping to still be able to participate in baseball as I move over to the next level.
“I really locked into (Hunter) last year. I kind of locked into them because I like to pick out specific players and model after them in my upcoming season. People didn’t know if he would take the baseball route or the NFL route and I thought it was great to be in a situation where he was able to get a great education and also be able to play two sports.”
Jackson has been feeling out the Irish to get a sense on whether he would be able to participate in both of the sports he chose Notre Dame. He hopes to get a clear idea on that soon.
“We’ve talked a little bit (about playing baseball) and they sent me camp invites as well for the baseball team,” Jackson said. “Hopefully when I get up there, I can actually get to meet the coach for both sports.”
Jackson went into his recruiting process with a strong knowledge base of the Irish.
“I’ve been watching Notre Dame since I was a little kid,” Jackson said. “Growing up, I knew that Notre Dame was something special. Not being in a conference, running your own program, every team doesn’t have the opportunity to do that. So that shows they have some type of power. That meant something right there.”
Jackson will narrow his list in the coming weeks before setting summer visit plans. There is a long way to go in his recruitment, which will lead to a National Signing Day commitment.
Notre Dame has Jackson’s attention.