Jordan Genmark Heath’s dream was simply to play high school football.
As a kid growing up in Sweden, he appreciated the popularity of the sport in the United States. Then, when his stepfather, Krister Genmark, received a green card through the Diversity Visa Lottery, the dream became a reality.
Genmark Heath moved with his family to San Diego in 2013. He eventually enrolled at San Diego Cathedral Catholic. In less than four years, Genmark Heath’s dream has turned into an even bigger opportunity.
On Thursday, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior committed to play football on a scholarship at Notre Dame. He had previously been committed to California.
“Me and my family have carefully evaluated my opportunities to excel on the next level and come to the conclusion that Notre Dame is a better fit for me,” Genmark Heath said in a statement he released on Twitter announcing his commitment switch. “It is with great pride I announce that I will be joining the Fighting Irish this fall.”
247Sports slates Genmark Heath as a four-star recruit and the No. 22 safety in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect and the No. 67 athlete.
Genmark Heath, who made an official visit to Notre Dame last weekend, can make the decision official Wednesday on National Signing Day. He becomes the 16th member of Notre Dame’s class with 11 verbally committed recruits and five already enrolled in classes this semester.
Genmark Heath ended a long commitment drought for the Irish and reversed the trend of recruits leaving Notre Dame’s class. Four-star offensive lineman Aaron Banks was the last recruit to commit to Notre Dame back on Dec. 9.
Since the start of the 2016 season, the Irish lost commitments from defensive lineman Donovan Jeter (Michigan), linebacker Pete Werner (Ohio State) wide receiver Jordan Pouncey (undecided), cornerback Paulson Adebo (Stanford) and cornerback Elijah Hicks (California).
Notre Dame will likely need to flip more recruits to finish the class in the neighborhood of 20 recruits. The Irish were able to do so with Genmark Heath thanks to the work of defensive coordinator Mike Elko and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght.
Genmark Heath received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame on Jan. 11 after Elko settled in as Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator. Genmark Heath said Lyght came to his house on three separate occasions. The latest visit came from Elko on Tuesday.
Genmark Heath joins safety Isaiah Robertson as the only defensive backs in Notre Dame’s 2017 class. The Irish will try to close with more safeties and cornerbacks in the final days of the recruiting cycle.
“He’s a good, solid guy to bring in,” CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said of Genmark Heath. “He’s not spectacular, but he’s a good, solid player.”
As a senior, Genmark Heath recorded 59 tackles and four interceptions while sharing a secondary with Morrison Mirer, the son of former Irish quarterback Rick Mirer. The younger Mirer plans to play lacrosse at Notre Dame.
“This is a really solid kid,” Rick Mirer wrote on Twitter after Notre Dame offered Genmark Heath. “He would be a great addition. I've been watching him closely.”
Genmark Heath also made plays on offense for Cathedral Catholic. He rushed for 197 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
With the addition of Genmark Heath, Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class ranks No. 15 in the country, according to 247Sports. Rivals pegs the Irish class at No. 18.
God, Country, Notre Dame☘️ pic.twitter.com/vX5s1y3TXl— Jordan Genmark Heath (@SwedishBlackGuy) January 26, 2017