Four-star DE Robert Beal commits to Notre Dame's 2017 class

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

While Notre Dame continues to search for a consistent pass rush on its current roster, the Irish have started to find better luck securing defensive ends on the recruiting trail.

Junior defensive end Robert Beal, a four-star prospect, verbally committed to Notre Dame on Sunday night. 

He confirmed his commitment in a text message.

Beal’s commitment comes just nine days after the Irish added a commitment from senior defensive end Khalid Kareem, also a four-star recruit.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who made a visit to Norcross (Ga.) High to see Beal during the recent bye week, should have talented options to track down quarterbacks in the future.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Beal could play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and defensive end in a 4-3 front. In his first three games of his junior season, Beal was credited with 24 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and four sacks.

“He’s a fantastic ball player,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s a premier athlete. He can run. He’s a legit, four-plus stars guy and has a shot at being a five-star guy with another great year. He’s that good.”

Notre Dame's coaching staff can't publicly comment on specific recruits until they have signed with the program, but that didn't stop them from sending coded tweets in celebration Sunday night.

“Who doesn't love a great pass rusher?” recruiting coordinator Mike Elston tweeted.

Head coach Brian Kelly sent out his customary “#WeAreND” tweet that comes following new commitments.

247Sports slates Beal as the No. 3 weakside defensive and No. 70 regardless of position in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 6 outside linebacker and No. 129 overall.

Beal claimed offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Georgia, among others. 

Lemming said he will need to add size in order to become a full-time defensive end at Notre Dame.

“Right now, he’s the top linebacker in Georgia for next year,” he said. “That’s saying a lot because Georgia is absolutely loaded.”

Beal, who was recruited by VanGorder and tight ends coach Scott Booker, last visited Notre Dame for the Irish Invasion in June. 

Since then, Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class has grown to five commitments with the addition of Beal. Tight ends Brock Wright and Cole Kmet and offensive lineman Josh Lugg all committed to Notre Dame in the months following their summer visit to South Bend. Offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons was the first to join the class in April.

247Sports pegs Notre Dame’s 2017 class as the fifth best in the country behind Ohio State (10 commits), Miami (11 commits), Alabama and Baylor (seven commits).

Who doesn't love a great pass rusher? #IRISHEL17E

— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) November 2, 2015

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) November 2, 2015

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

Notre Dame defensive line coach Keith Gilmore speaks with 2017 defensive end recruit Robert Beal during the Irish Invasion. (SBT Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ)