Commitment decision looms for Notre Dame safety target Amari Carter

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

When Amari Carter announces his commitment on Oct. 22, the three-star safety recruit will likely be faced with the same decision as his former teammates Te’von Coney and Devin Studstill.

Should he stay close to home and attend Miami or should he leave his comfort zone and head to Notre Dame?

His official visit to South Bend this weekend will serve as one his final points of observation before he makes a pledge.

Carter, a product of Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High like Coney in the 2015 class and Studstill in the 2016 class, last visited Notre Dame in June for the Irish Invasion. He’ll make his return on Friday with his mother.

“It was a great experience and it set the bar really high for a lot of the other schools,” Carter said of his Irish Invasion visit. “I would like to experience the same thing, but I’m expecting it to be even a little better because it’s a game. With all the fans there, you can get a feel for what it would be like to go there. During the game, how live it gets especially with the Stanford game. That’s pretty much what I’m looking forward to.

“But really, I already know what Notre Dame has and what they hold. This visit is really for my mom to experience the campus and see what I would be getting myself into.”

Coney, a sophomore linebacker, and Studstill, a freshman safety, bring a sense of familiarity at Notre Dame for Carter. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound recruit said he’s watched almost every Irish game this season and keeps in regular contact with Coney and Studstill.

“With them, it’s not really ‘You have to come.’ It’s more of ‘Whatever is best for you,’” Carter said. “If that’s Notre Dame, then great. We’re going to ball out with each other. But at the same time, they know it’s whatever decision is best for me. They only say positive things about the school, nothing negative. I know them and they know me. That’s pretty much how it is.”

Because of his prior relationship with Coney and Studstill, Carter can trust that they’ll be honest with him. But one topic Carter has brought up with them is Notre Dame’s 2-4 start to the season.

“I’m not really throwing those questions on them,” Carter said. “I know Notre Dame and what they’re capable of. They just have to get in the right groove and just ride it out. I’m not really trying to badger them with those kind of questions.”

Adding to Carter’s level of comfort with Notre Dame is running backs coach Autry Denson. The two have developed a strong relationship since the Irish extended a scholarship offer in February.

Carter said his relationship with Denson is rare. Only a few college coaches have shown as much sincere interest in him.

“The type of person he is, he cares more about the person you are instead of the athlete,” Carter said. “A lot of coaches contact you and talk strictly about football. With him, it’s more like a true relationship. Like how are you doing and stuff like that. He’s just checking up on the well-being of you.

“But when we do talk about football, it’s ‘We need you. You can come in here and be an impact player right away” as long as I do everything I have to do on my side with the classroom to the weight room to the practice field. Knowing if I do everything right and earn the position, I’ll be able to come in and help our immediately.”

Despite Carter’s proximity to Miami, his first recruiting visit to see a Hurricanes football game came last weekend when Miami lost to Florida State. While Notre Dame season has fallen short of expectation, Miami (4-1) has started fast in the first season under head coach Mark Richt.

“It’s a good thing that they’re having a good season,” Carter said. “That’s good for them. It’s a hometown thing when I do go there. A bunch of people notice you just from social media and stuff like that.”

Carter plans to announce his commitment next Saturday and plans to enroll early at the school of his choice. But it won’t exactly be the end of his recruitment. Carter said he wants to use all five of his official visits. After he makes a commitment, he’s considering trip to Auburn, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Miami.

But every school will know where they stand with him next weekend.

“I’ve been talking to different coaches and the high school players in the class of 2017. Spots are being filled up,” Carter said. “To me, it’s getting late in the process because I’m actually going to enroll early. So I want to do this to hold down a spot and make sure scholarships are still open.”

Three-star safety Amari Carter (5) will visit Notre Dame this weekend before making a commitment announcement on Oct. 22. (Photo courtesy of The Palm Beach Post/Allen Eyestone)