QB target Hendon Hooker visiting Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

A long drive wasn’t going to prevent Hendon Hooker from visiting Notre Dame.

Hooker, one of the top 2017 quarterback targets for the Irish, and his family logged more than 600 miles and 10 hours on the road for a trip to South Bend on Sunday.

Hooker is scheduled to spend most of Monday on Notre Dame’s campus. The plan to visit started to form when the 6-foot-4, 200-pound recruit received a scholarship offer from Irish offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford less than a month ago.

Now Hooker has the chance to visualize a potential future at Notre Dame and weigh the option of giving a verbal commitment to the Irish. Two weeks ago, the three-star quarterback tweeted that he expects to make a commitment decision “in the next few weeks.”

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said a commitment to Notre Dame from Hooker would be a major addition for the Irish.

“The kid has a great arm, great running skills,” Lemming said. “I think he's farther along at this stage than DeShone Kizer was in his career. He has the same height. I just loved him.”

Lemming saw Hooker in person in January at a gathering in Raleigh, N.C., for the state’s 40 best prospects.

“No doubt he was the biggest surprise of all of them,” Lemming said. “He went from a three star to almost a five star. I might give him five stars with a little more film. He's at least a four-plus guy.”

Hooker completed 127 of his 198 passes (64 percent) for 2,234 yards and 17 touchdowns in his junior season at Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley. He also rushed for 1,217 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Both 247Sports and Rivals rate Hooker as a three-star recruit. 247Sports slates him as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 19 dual-threat quarterback.

Notre Dame’s quarterback recruiting in the 2017 class could come to a close in the next few weeks. Following Hooker’s visit, the Irish are also expected to host three-star quarterback Avery Davis on Saturday.

The Irish have offered only three quarterbacks in the class: five-star recruit Hunter Johnson, Davis and Hooker. Johnson, a 6-3, 200-pounder from Brownsburg, Ind., became Notre Dame’s first target, committed to Tennessee in August and has since flipped his commitment to Clemson. The Irish then offered Davis, a 6-0, 190-pound recruit from Cedar Hill, Texas in October.

Davis, who visited South Bend in November for the Wake Forest game, has identified Notre Dame as his leader as recently as Sunday, when he did so in multiple interviews at The Opening Regional camp in Coppell, Texas.

The pending decisions of Hooker and Davis seem likely to impact each other. Top quarterback recruits rarely decide to commit to the same school as another talented quarterback in his class. Notre Dame could choose to take both quarterbacks if both wanted to commit, but the Irish have signed only one quarterback in each of the last six classes.

The last time more than one quarterback signed with Notre Dame came in Brian Kelly’s first months as head coach with the Irish. Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Luke Massa all joined Notre Dame as quarterbacks in the 2010 class.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Hendon Hooker, a 2017 quarterback recruit, reported an offer from Notre Dame on Tuesday, Feb. 16. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)