Notre Dame goes to plan B for quarterback recruiting

South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame didn’t wait long in identifying new options at quarterback.

A day after losing a verbal commitment from 2015 quarterback Blake Barnett, the Irish extended a pair of offers to signal-callers in the class.

The first came to Travis Waller, a four-star prospect from Anaheim, Calif., who reported the offer on Twitter. 247Sports slates him as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 36 overall. Rivals ranks him as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and No. 104 regardless of his position.

Waller attends Servite, the same Catholic high school as recent Irish tight end Troy Niklas. As a junior, Waller completed 127 of his 235 passes for 1,669 yards for 12 touchdowns. He also rushed 171 times for 1,293 yards and 13 touchdowns. Waller holds offers from Alabama, California, Tennessee and Northwestern, among others.

The Irish could receive a visit from Waller as soon as this month, said quarterback coach Steve Clarkson. Clarkson, who worked with former Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen and other current NFL quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Nick Foles, recently coached Waller at Clarkson’s annual San Diego Quarterback Retreat in May. He said he expects Waller to make a commitment decision in the next few weeks.

Servite wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, a teammate of Waller’s, plans to visit Notre Dame next week. Landing one could help influence the other to join the Irish.

The second offer went to Jarrett Stidham, a four-star Texas Tech commit from Stephenville, Texas, who also shared the news on Twitter. Rivals ranks him as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class and No. 50 nationally regardless of position. 247Sports slates him as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 65 overall.

As a junior at Stephenville High, Stidham completed 160 of his 268 passes for 2,687 yards for 30 touchdowns. He rushed 143 times for 975 yards and 16 touchdowns. Stidham, who also held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and Texas A&M, verbally committed to Texas Tech in March.

Rivals and 247Sports both reported the Irish contacting IMG Academy’s Deondre Francois, but an offer had yet to be made prior to Thursday night. Francois, a four-star prospect at the Bradenton, Fla., school, is considered a Florida State lean by most. His offer list also includes Auburn, Florida and Ohio State.

As a junior, Francois completed 104 of his 213 passes for 1,373 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s ranked as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the country according to both Rivals and 247Sports.

Waller, Stidham and Francois all received one of the 18 invites to July’s Elite 11 finals, a national quarterback competition, alongside Barnett. The Irish have signed an Elite 11 finalist (Everett Golson, Gunner Kiel, Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer) each of the last four recruiting cycles.

Staff writer Bob Wieneke contributed to this report; 574-235-6214; Twitter: @TJamesNDI

It's back to the quarterback recruiting trail for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and his staff.  (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)