Three-star recruits Jalen Elliott, Kevin Stepherson commit to Notre Dame

Tyler James and Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

On Friday, some of the top recruits in the country invaded Notre Dame.

And two of them chose to stay.

Defensive back Jalen Elliott and wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, both three-star prospects, verbally committed to Notre Dame on Friday while on campus for the program's Irish Invasion camp.

"I am blessed to say I am committed to the University of Notre Dame #F16HTINGIRISH," Elliott tweeted during his visit.

A 6-foot-1, 177-pound prospect, Elliott has played a number of positions but projects in the secondary for the Irish. As a junior at Chesterfield (Va.) L.C. Bird High School, Elliott led his team to a state championship as the starting quarterback. He threw for 1,736 yards and 24 touchdowns and added 271 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Elliott, who also claimed offers from Auburn, Georgia and Virginia Tech, among others, became the seventh verbal commitment in Notre Dame's 2016 recruiting class. He joins three-star cornerback Julian Love in the secondary.

"He's a physical player," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He can play corner or safety. He's a loose hips kid. He's quick in transition. They needed help at defensive back so that's another one."

247Sports slates Elliott as the No. 25 athlete, a designation for players with multiple positions, in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 53 athlete.

Elliott, who was being recruiting by Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker, received a Notre Dame offer last month.

"Virginia and Maryland are two states Notre Dame should hit real hard," Lemming said. "They haven't done that in the past, but hopefully this could be the beginning of something good."

Stepherson's commitment came directly after the end of the Irish Invasion camp on Friday night, as the speedy Jacksonville, Fla., native hugged associate head coach and wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock and tight ends coach Scott Booker on the turf inside Notre Dame Stadium. With a white Notre Dame hat pulled low over his eyes, Stepherson grinned and posed for pictures with his new coaches, before jumping and high-fiving the crossbar on his way out of the stadium tunnel.

"He's a good wide receiver," Lemming said of Stepherson. "He has good hands and can run. He's the kind of wide receiver who can stretch the defense. He can move the chains for an offense."

A 6-1, 180-pound wide receiver, Stepherson also garnered offers from the likes of Florida, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Michigan and Michigan State, among others. The consensus three-star prospect caught 33 passes for 756 yards and 11 touchdowns at First Coast High School last season.

Stepherson becomes Notre Dame's eighth commitment in the 2016 signing class, as well as its first wide receiver. He's ranked by Rivals as the No. 62 wide receiver in the country and the No. 86 overall prospect in the state of Florida. 247Sports, on the other hand, lists him as the No. 119 wide receiver and the No. 102 player in the sunshine state.

Before riding away from Notre Dame Stadium in a golf cart on Friday night, Stepherson was glued to his phone, insisting over and again that he was not, in fact, joking.

He was verbally committed to Notre Dame.

And like Elliott, Stepherson's trip to South Bend was a fruitful one.

I'm officially committed to the University of Notre dame

— Kevin Stepherson (@KevinStepherson) June 20, 2015//

I am blessed to say I am committed to the University of Notre Dame

— July 7th〽️♋️ (@Jae_Uno_) June 19, 2015//

Jalen Elliott, stands on the sidelines during Irish Invasion Friday June 19, 2015 in South Bend. SBT Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ
Florida prep wide receiver Kevin Stepherson committed to Notre Dame. (Courtesy of Rivals)