Three-star CB Donte Burton visiting Notre Dame on Saturday
The biggest need in Notre Dame’s 2018 recruiting class couldn’t be any more obvious.
After the Irish failed to add any players at the position in the previous recruiting cycle, Notre Dame still sits without a verbal commitment at cornerback with less than seven months until signing day.
There is plenty of time for Notre Dame to convince recruits of the opportunity awaiting in South Bend, but a shot of momentum at the position could surely help.
Enter Donte Burton, a three-star recruit from Loganville (Ga.) High. The 5-foot-11, 172-pound cornerback will make an unofficial visit to Notre Dame on Saturday. A trip to see the Irish has been in the works since he received an offer in May.
“I've always known Notre Dame as a very prestigious school,” Burton said. “They have a great history and great fans. It's something great to be a part of. When I was able to receive that scholarship from them, that meant a lot for my family and made everybody happy. It was a great offer."
247Sports slates Burton as the No. 47 cornerback in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 65 at the position.
Having already visited multiple schools, including North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Missouri and Vanderbilt, Burton knows what he’s looking for when he steps on a college campus.
"I hope to just take it all in,” Burton said. “View the campus, view the facilities and where the players stay. I want to go throughout the campus and see how things are done in everyday life. Hopefully I'll get up there while they're going through their workout or after their workout. Just see how they do things around there, how the players interact with each other and how the coaches interact with the players.”
Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght has led Notre Dame’s recruitment of Burton. Lyght, a former Notre Dame and NFL cornerback himself, has been able to successfully communicate his own career path and how he could impact Burton.
“He's a great guy,” Burton said. “He played in the league, so he has experience. He knows his work.”
“When he came down to see me, he was in our weight room and he was watching my film. He was analyzing me, and he helped me with a little tip on my game — not to false step. He knows his work. He knows what he's doing. He's been through it all.”
Burton is still learning the recruiting process, but he’s already been through one verbal commitment. Last July, Burton gave his pledge to North Carolina. In April, he broke his word.
It’s a trend that’s become a little too familiar to Notre Dame when it comes to cornerbacks. In the previous recruiting cycle, the Irish failed to sign cornerbacks Paulson Adebo and Elijah Hicks after originally gaining their verbal commitments. In the 2018 class, cornerback Kalon Gervin was committed to Notre Dame for less than three months.
But Burton seems to have a better grasp on his ideal college fit after his recruitment with North Carolina.
"I'm looking for what scheme fits me the best,” Burton said, “the ability to play early and an all-around feel for the coaching staff and how they treat their players and their coach-player relationships.”
Burton had hoped to make visits to Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Oregon, but no plans have been settled. Making a top list of schools or setting a decision deadline doesn’t interest Burton.
That leaves open the possibility for Notre Dame to blow Burton away and make him consider a commitment.
“If I go somewhere and that feels like that's the spot, I'm going to make my move,” Burton said. “It's not really about trying to gain all the offers. I'm just trying to figure out what place I want to be at."