Quarterback Avery Davis commits to Notre Dame on junior day

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame’s coaching staff went into Texas and found the quarterback it wanted for the 2017 class.

Avery Davis, a three-star quarterback from Cedar Hill (Texas) High, gave his verbal commitment to the Irish while on campus for junior day Saturday. He shared the news on Twitter.

"After endless prayer, talking to my family, & my coaches I have decided to officially verbally commit to The University of Notre Dame!" wrote Davis, who declined a phone interview during his travel home Saturday. "I would like to thank all of the college who took a chance and recruited me to play for their school & I'd also like to thank all of the college who chose not to. All of the glory is to God because without him I am nothing! #goirish."

Head coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford identified Davis as their priority at quarterback with an offer in October. Davis followed that up with a visit to Notre Dame for the Wake Forest game in November and returned this weekend to South Bend.

The 6-foot, 190-pound recruit wasn’t Notre Dame’s first choice at quarterback in the 2017 class. The Irish initially targeted Hunter Johnson, a five-star quarterback from Brownsburg, Ind., but moved on from his recruitment after Johnson committed to Tennessee. Johnson has since flipped his commitment to Clemson.

Davis became Notre Dame’s target while in the midst of a junior season in which he completed 128 of his 197 passes (65 percent) for 1,966 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed 110 times for 934 yards and three touchdowns.

But because Davis didn’t start at Cedar Hill as a sophomore, his recruitment in Texas was slow. The major programs in the region — Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor and TCU — all secured quarterback commitments by late August. That created an opportunity for Notre Dame.

"He has a great arm and great legs," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who rates Davis as a four-star recruit. "He's a great all-around quarterback. He fits in perfectly at Notre Dame."

247Sports slates Davis as the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him No. 14 at the position.

Hendon Hooker, who received Notre Dame’s third quarterback offer in February, also visited South Bend in the last week. But with Davis on board, it seems unlikely that Hooker would choose to join the class. Notre Dame has taken only one scholarship quarterback in each of the last six recruiting classes under Kelly.

Davis joins offensive linemen Josh Lugg and Dillan Gibbons and tight ends Brock Wright and Cole Kmet in Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class. 247Sports ranks the group as the No. 14 class in the country.

Davis and Wright both hail from Texas. Landing a pair of talented recruits from the Lone Star State could pay dividends for the Irish moving forward. After defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks, who recruited in the state for Notre Dame, left for a job at Oklahoma last year, the Irish didn’t sign a recruit from Texas in the 2016 class.

Sanford has taken ownership of some recruiting territory in Texas and Kelly wants the traditional football state to remain a priority.

Beating the Longhorns soundly last season and a trip to Austin for the season opener this fall could help Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts.

So could Davis.

“He’s a big catch in Texas,” Lemming said. “What he has to do is start reaching out to kids. He’s got a good personality.”

His Cedar Hill teammate Charleston Rambo would be a start. The four-star wide receiver visited Notre Dame on Saturday with Davis.

Rambo caught five touchdowns from Davis last season. Davis plans to throw more in South Bend. The Irish have time to figure out who will be on the receiving end.

Below are junior highlights of Davis via Hudl.

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

God is truly great #blessuppic.twitter.com/VrWB7x2bso

— avery davis ++ (@realaverydavis) March 19, 2016

Three-star quarterback Avery Davis, a 2017 recruit, gave his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Saturday, March 19, while visiting for junior day. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)