USC de-commit Melquise Stovall previews ND visit

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Revenge isn’t a motivating factor for Melquise Stovall.

Call it a coincidence that the four-star recruit’s first official visit since withdrawing his verbal commitment to USC will be to Notre Dame. Stovall, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior, will arrive in South Bend on Saturday for his weekend with the Irish.

Getting a chance to suit up against the Trojans hasn’t settled into Stovall’s thought process even if he feels that he was misled by USC.

“They really lied almost about where I was going to be playing,” Stovall said of the USC coaching staff. “Originally it was offensive athlete, then later on down the line I ended up getting moved when all the receivers committed. It went from me playing as an offensive athlete to strictly running back to if I wanted to play receiver, I should decommit. Also, if I wanted to take my official visits, then I should decommit.”

Stovall did just that on Aug. 8. Since then, he’s started to weigh his options. A relationship with Notre Dame associate head coach Mike Denbrock led to him scheduling the official visit.

“Talking to coach Denbrock made me want to get up there,” Stovall said. “He’s a great guy. I like where they’re going to use me. Notre Dame is full of tradition, but you never get to see it until you go up there and see it for yourself.”

When Stovall arrives, he plans to focus on a wide array of details. From learning more about the city of South Bend to getting to know the coaching staff and players and experiencing the environment on campus, Stovall has a long to-do list.

Zeroing in on his role in Notre Dame’s offense will also be important for Stovall. Notre Dame has pitched the opportunity to be an offensive athlete – a mix of slot receiver, running back and special teams returner. Rivals ranks Stovall as the No. 2 all-purpose back in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him third at the position.

As a junior at Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete, Stovall rushed for 1,603 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns. Stovall sees his future primarily as a slot receiver but likes the idea of still getting carries as well.

“I can do both, but I’m a lot better in space,” Stovall said.

Notre Dame has developed a niche for players who can play a combination of both positions. Theo Riddick, a former Irish player from 2009-12, may have found the most success as a hybrid player in head coach Brian Kelly’s offense at Notre Dame. Senior running back C.J. Prosise has followed a similar track. Freshman wide receiver C.J. Sanders could do the same.

The Irish are also recruiting 2016 prospect Damian Alloway, who is heavily considering Notre Dame and UCLA, in a similar role. But while Alloway remains undecided, the Irish have pursued Stovall as well. By the end of the weekend, Notre Dame should know if it has a better chance to catch Stovall than opposing defenses.

“I like to juke and make people look a little silly,” Stovall said.

That exactly what Stovall could do to USC if he turns into a productive college player at Notre Dame.

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

Wide receiver/running back Melquise Stovall will make an official visit to Notre Dame this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)