Deion Colzie

Athens (Ga.) Academy's Deion Colzie, a 2021 wide receiver, shined at Notre Dame's Sunday Night Football camp on June 2, 2019.

Notre Dame hosted 191 recruits for its first football recruiting camp of the summer.

Recruits could sign up for the four-hour camp — the inaugural “Sunday Night Football.” None of the 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 recruits present at the LaBar Practice Complex stole the show more than starting Irish safety Jalen Elliott.

The senior’s bellowing voice could be heard by parents situated among bleachers about 20 feet away. Nearby spectators snickered when Elliott erupted with emotion. He reacted to one-on-one drills — which pitted wide receivers against defensive backs — as if the result impacted the Irish.

“Hey, we got to stop holding over here, bro,” Elliott once chided at the defensive backs rotating from the sideline. “We are holding the whole way down the field.”

Defensive backs knew when they had solid coverage. Elliott made it known. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder celebrated a few different ways. Sometimes he would stretch out his arms like a helicopter and blurt a recruit’s jersey number. Other times he would jump as high as he could in jubilation.

On particularly impressive plays, Elliott would sprint across the field and chest bump or high five the defensive back.

Elliott’s theatrics also involved him flipping his dark, sleeveless Irish football hoodie over and off his head as he paced across the sideline. His antics were received well by recruits, who seemed inspired and began to seek him out after making a play.

Offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer, receivers Chris Finke and Chase Claypool, rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and running back Jahmir Smith were among other Irish players in attendance. Running backs coach Lance Taylor used Smith as a guide to help recruits learn how to execute certain drills.

But none were as involved as Elliott. 

“Jalen’s leadership has been fantastic,” Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea said during spring football. “The thing for him is first just being a tone-setter for us. Beyond that, it’s also policing the standards that coach (Brian) Kelly set forth, that I set forth, defensively. He has shown a willingness to do that. That’s been a lot of fun to see, too.

“I’m doing less talking, because it’s been addressed before I get to it.”

Notre Dame hosts its Irish Invasion camp next Sunday, which will feature fewer but more talented recruits. No recruits with Notre Dame offers attended Sunday Night Football. Deion Colzie, a 2021 receiver prospect, shined in an otherwise underwhelming camp. 

WR Deion Colzie, 6-4, 194; Athens (Ga.) Academy: Colzie looked like the most fluid recruit competing at the camp.

Colzie began the afternoon clocking a 4.55 40-yard dash, an impressive time considering his youth and size. He then executed position drills with ease. Colzie flashed his abilities the most when facing defensive backs in one-on-one drills.

Finke let out a “nice route!” after Colzie secured a 15-yard pass on an out route. He later created five yards of separation on a deep post route that would have resulted in a touchdown. A 2023 defensive back ran onto the field hoping to cover Colzie. But Irish cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght would not allow it. He subbed in another player.

Though the Irish have not offered Colzie, one could come soon. He holds offers from Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Virginia. 247Sports slates Colzie as a four-star recruit, ranking him as its No. 8 receiver and No. 54 overall player.

Familiar camp attendees

Sunday Night Football did not feature dozens of players destined for Power Five football. But a handful of the camp’s attendees hold Division I offers. A few of them possess a strong connection with Notre Dame as well.

2022 S Bobby Taylor, 6-1, 160; Houston (Texas) Heights: Taylor impressed during one-on-one drills and even secured a one-handed interception at one point. His father, Bobby Taylor, played as a cornerback for Notre Dame from 1991-94. A consensus All-American as a senior, Taylor spent a decade in the NFL.

2021 TE Jordan Dingle, 6-4, 230; Bowling Green (K.Y.) High: Dingle flashed potential with his wide-bodied frame and catch radius. Irish freshman nose guard Jacob Lacey, a product of the nearby Bowling Green South Warren, might try to recruit Dingle. Jacob’s father, David, watched on the sidelines alongside Jordan’s dad, Justice.

2021 RB Justin Johnson Jr., 5-11, 190; Edwardsville (Ill.) High: Johnson operated in the same backfield as Irish 2019 receiver signee Kendall Abdur-Rahman, who played quarterback for the Tigers last season. Johnson holds offers from Illinois and Illinois State.

2020 ATH Quentin Elliott, Chester (Va.) L.C. Bird: Elliott has not reported a Division I offer. But he’s the younger brother of Jalen.


Twitter: @CarterKarels

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