Notebook: No wobble in Isaiah Robertson's Notre Dame commitment
SOUTH BEND — There has been no way for Isaiah Robertson to escape the poor start to Notre Dame’s season.
The Irish safety commit has been on the receiving end of plenty of punchlines and jabs with his future team struggling.
“A lot of people don’t like Notre Dame,” Robertson said. “They don’t like that they win so much. They don’t like the tradition. A lot of people are very happy (they have been losing). I get that every day.”
Watching the Irish stumble to start the season hasn’t been easy for Robertson, but he remains fully committed to Notre Dame. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior at Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley attended Saturday’s game on an unofficial visit.
“I really just want to see how the campus, how the team, how the coaches, how everybody responds to the bad start or negativity,” Robertson said Thursday. “That’s the main thing I’m looking to see this weekend.”
Robertson keeps in regular contact with associate head coach Mike Denbrock, his primary recruiter, and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght. He’s also reached out to freshman cornerback Julian Love, a fellow Chicago-area product.
Roberston hasn’t tried to solve the puzzle of Notre Dame’s defense. He remains confident that the Irish will get things headed in the right direction.
“You have a lot of guys up there who are young. There’s a lot of injuries. Things just haven’t been going our way,” Robertson said. “It’s tough. I have no clue what’s going on, but we’re just going through a rough patch.”
When defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was fired following the 38-35 loss to Duke, Robertson reaffirmed his commitment, saying he has faith in head coach Brian Kelly. The same goes for the next Irish defensive coordinator. Robertson can’t sign with the Irish until February, but he’s not looking for other options.
“It’s Notre Dame, so whoever they’re going to put at the defensive coordinator spot is going to be elite. I really don’t have any worries about that,” Robertson said. “As far as if anything is going to happen to me personally, I’m not really worried about that. I just want to go out there and play. Whoever is there, that’s who I’m playing for.”
Notre Dame’s expected visitors list included a couple late changes this week.
Four-star athlete Greg Johnson, an Arizona commit, did not make his official visit as originally planned. A future trip to South Bend remains a possibility.
But the Irish received better news when Grant Delpit, one of the top safeties in the country and a four-star recruit, scheduled an official visit. He was joined on campus by a pair of his teammates at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy — Irish offensive line commit Robert Hainsey and 2018 cornerback target Houston Griffith.
Delpit, a 6-foot-3, 189-pound senior originally from Houston, gave his verbal commitment to LSU in July, but the Tigers have since fired head coach Les Miles. If the Irish were able to flip Delpit, he would be a welcome addition in the 2017 class to pair with Isaiah Robertson.
“He’s a very good safety,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He can hit. Notre Dame needs guys like him in the secondary. He’s a talented ball player.”
In five games at IMG Academy this season, Delpit totaled 27 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups. 247Sports slates Delpit as the No. 3 safety in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him ninth at the position.
With an opportunity to see many of the nation’s top recruits in action this fall, Scout released its latest rankings of the 2017 class Wednesday.
Eleven of Notre Dame’s 18 commitments in the class appeared in the new Scout 300.
Tight end Brock Wright maintained his spot at the top of the Irish class despite a sizable drop in the overall rankings. Previously ranked as the No. 1 tight end and No. 59 overall in the 2017 class in June’s release, Wright now sits at No. 3 for tight ends and No. 82 overall.
Linebacker David Adams was slated not far behind Wright at No. 89 overall as the No. 3 inside linebacker in the class. He received a bump up from his previous position as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 102 overall.
Nine more commits were slated in the top 300 but outside the top 100: offensive lineman Robert Hainsey (No. 135 overall, No. 16 OT), offensive lineman Josh Lugg (No. 139 overall, No. 17 OT), defensive tackle Darnell Ewell (No. 150 overall, No. 8 OG), quarterback Avery Davis (No. 158 overall, No. 12 QB), tight end Cole Kmet (No. 176 overall, No. 4 TE), running back CJ Holmes (No. 204 overall, No. 15 ATH), cornerback Paulson Adebo (No. 213 overall, No. 16 ATH), linebacker Pete Werner (No. 247 overall, No. 21 OLB) and defensive lineman Donovan Jeter (No. 300 overall, No. 30 DE).
The previous 11 players were all given four-star ratings. Offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons and safety Isaiah Robertson also received four-star ratings. The other five Irish commits (defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, linebacker Drew White, wide receivers Jordan Pouncey and Michael Young and defensive end Jonathon MacCollister) were given three-star grades.
Notre Dame’s class of 18 commitments is good for No. 4 in the country behind only Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama. The Sooners added a commitment from Irish linebacker target Jacob Phillips (No. 7 inside linebacker, No. 189 overall) on Wednesday.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey isn’t the last of his family members bound to play college football. His younger brother Dylan, a 2017 quarterback recruit at Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian, plans to sign with Michigan next year.
But there’s another McCaffrey, 2019 recruit Luke McCaffrey, who has landed on Notre Dame’s radar. The Irish hosted Luke McCaffrey as a visitor for Saturday’s game.
Luke McCaffrey, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound prospect, has played a number of positions during his sophomore season. He’s rushed for 162 yards and one touchdown, caught 14 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown and recorded 22 tackles as a defensive back.
Max McCaffrey, the oldest son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, played college football at Duke.