Canadian WR Chase Claypool commits to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Chase Claypool chose a college football scholarship to Notre Dame over the likes of Oregon, Michigan, Rutgers and Washington.

Not long ago, Claypool thought the five schools he would be choosing from were all in Canada. In just four months, the 6-foot-6, 214-pound prospect from Abbotsford, British Columbia, went from zero offers to a verbal commitment to the Irish.

“It’s surreal. I thought I was going to go to a Canadian university and have to pay for my education, so the fact that I get it for free and at Notre Dame, it’s kinda crazy,” Claypool said Friday. 

Claypool announced his commitment to the world on ESPNU’s broadcast of The Opening Finals at Nike World Headquarters.

"This whole recruiting process has been a blessing, really," Claypool said on ESPNU. "I've enjoyed every bit of it. But I want to further my education and football career at the University of Notre Dame." 

Claypool, who visited Notre Dame in June, becomes commitment No. 12 in the 2016 Irish recruiting class and joins fellow wide receiver Kevin Stepherson.

The three-star recruit didn’t land on the college football radar until receiving scholarship offers from Nevada and Rutgers in March. When April brought offers from San Diego State, Utah, Rice and Oregon, Claypool’s name emerged as a legitimate one on the recruiting landscape. By the end of May, Notre Dame became offer No. 13 for Claypool. 

College football coaches fell in love with Claypool’s size and athleticism, and he continued to prove he was more than just a star among Canadian competition. When Claypool participated in Notre Dame’s Irish Invasion camp in June, he stood out as one of the best recruits on the field.

His two-day visit to South Bend helped sway him towards the Irish. His trip to campus included watching “Rudy” on the way there. He fell in love in with the history and tradition at Notre Dame.

“It was crazy. The campus was amazing,” Claypool said. “The facility was beautiful. It was really good.”

Following a late-June trip to Rutgers, Claypool had made up his mind. He just wanted to keep his decision a secret until announcing it on national TV. He spoke with Irish offensive line commit Parker Boudreaux at lunch on Friday but didn’t tell him his commitment plans.

Claypool showed flashes of potential in a field of 166 of the best college football recruits in Oregon. He displayed the ability to use his body to separate himself from defenders to haul in passes. During Wednesday’s testing, Claypool recorded a 4.66-second 40-yard dash and a 35.1-inch vertical jump.

“He isn’t the No. 1 ranked receiver in this class right now, but when you see what he brings to the table from a physical skill set and athletically, why can’t he be one of the best receivers in college football at some point down the road?” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “This is an upside get for Notre Dame. He’s big, long and can run. He’s a beast.”

As a relatively new name to recruiting evaluators, Claypool is likely to receive a rankings boost following the summer camp circuit. 247Sports slates him as the No. 65 wide receiver in the 2016, and Rivals ranks him No. 96.

Wiltfong said he sees Claypool as a bigger and more athletic version of Irish wide receiver Corey Robinson. Some think Claypool could bring value to other positions if he grows out of being a wide receiver. 

“He has the tools to be a great receiver, but who knows. Maybe he’s a great outside linebacker down the road or a tight end,” Wiltfong said. “He’s got an opportunity to be really good.”

Canadian WR Chase Claypool announces commitment to #NotreDame.

A video posted by Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) on Jul 10, 2015 at 5:06pm PDT

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tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Wide receiver Chase Claypool. (Photo courtesy of Nike)