Notebook: Door open for Notre Dame in DB Houston Griffith's recruitment

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

What once appeared to be a prank could turn into a reality for Houston Griffith and Notre Dame.

Back on Nov. 10, the Friday night before the Irish played at Miami, a post on Griffith’s Twitter account made it seem he was committing to Notre Dame.

“4for40,” the tweet read. “Committed to the Irish.”

Accompanying the tweet was a recruiting graphic designed by Notre Dame showing Griffith in an Irish jersey during a previous visit. Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght was also tagged in the post.

The tweet was quickly deleted. Griffith told ND Insider that he hadn’t actually committed, and that someone else had posted it from his phone.

It was quite the elaborate prank played on someone who was committed to Florida State at the time. But that’s no longer the case for the 6-foot, 194-pound Griffith.

On Wednesday, Griffith announced he is reopening his recruitment. Lyght visited with Griffith at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy earlier in the day.

Rivals ranks Griffith as the No. 6 safety in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him as the No. 14 cornerback in the class. Either position could be an option at Notre Dame depending on roster needs.

Griffith has long been a Notre Dame recruiting target. The Irish extended him a scholarship offer in March 2016 when he was a sophomore at Chicago Mount Carmel. At that point, Griffith already had made multiple visits to South Bend.

Griffith transferred to IMG Academy before his junior season, but he continued to make return trips to Notre Dame. His family still lives in Chicago. Griffith’s father is former Illinois and NFL running back Howard Griffith.

When Griffith committed to Florida State in October, he chose the Seminoles over top offers from Penn State, Texas, Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

He last made a trip to Notre Dame on an official visit for the loss to Georgia in September. Griffith’s familiarity with the Irish could play an important role in the coming month.

Griffith plans to enroll early, which means a decision will likely come in December. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for other schools to woo him and could leave Notre Dame in the driver’s seat.

Another CB option

As the Irish continue to push for more cornerbacks in the 2018 class, Todd Lyght has identified another recruiting target. On Wednesday, Virginia commit DJ Brown reported a Notre Dame offer.

Brown has been on the Irish radar for quite some time. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound senior attends Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High, the same school that produced Notre Dame freshman defensive end Kofi Wardlow.

The Irish successfully flipped Wardlow’s commitment from Maryland at the end of the 2017 signing class. Virginia, which received Brown’s commitment in July, lost former safety pledge Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to Notre Dame in February as well.

Brown, a three-star recruit, could follow the same script. Upon receiving an offer from Notre Dame, Brown told ND Insider he’s considering making an official visit to Notre Dame “most likely next week.” That would put him on campus for Notre Dame’s annual football awards show.

247Sports slates Brown as the No. 82 cornerback in the 2018 class. Rivals did not include Brown on its rankings of the top 75 cornerbacks in the class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 13 recruit in Washington, D.C.

Brown used his official visit to Virginia last weekend. His offer list also includes Missouri, Boston College, Vanderbilt and Arizona. Brown will play in the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

Three-star recruit Joe Wilkins Jr. remains the lone cornerback commitment in Notre Dame’s 2018 class.

Eyeing DE help

The Irish aren’t ready to settle on only one defensive end — three-star recruit Justin Ademilola — in the 2018 class.

Defensive line coach Mike Elston spent the start of his week evaluating options at defensive end. On Monday, he extended an offer to Malik Langham while visiting with the product of Huntsville (Ala.) Lee.

The 6-foot-6, 269-pound Langham recorded 70 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, five pass deflection and two forced fumbles in his senior season. Now he’s mulling scholarship offers from Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Washington and others.

Rivals ranks Langham as the No. 39 strongside defensive end in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him No. 43 at the position.

Elston also checked in on Nebraska commit Tate Wildeman on Tuesday. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound senior at Parker (Colo.) Legend has been pledged to the Cornhuskers since April, but Nebraska is currently in the market for a new head coach.

Wildeman said he should learn if the Irish are going to extend an offer in the next few weeks. He would consider making a visit to Notre Dame if the offer came.

The three-star recruit made an official visit to Washington State in November and also has offers from Iowa, Arizona State, Colorado State and Kansas State.

247Sports slates Wildeman as the No. 18 weakside defensive end in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 26 at the position.

Wilson to N.C. State

Four-star linebacker Payton Wilson dropped his verbal commitment to North Carolina in the week following his official visit to Notre Dame for the Navy game. But the 6-foot-4, 217-pound product of Hillsborough (N.C.) Orange won't be leaving his home state after all.

On Friday, Wilson announced a commitment to N.C. State. Wilson made an official visit with the Wolfpack earlier in November prior to his trip to South Bend.

Wilson received a visit from Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea on Wednesday. N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren and defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable visited him Thursday.

247Sports slates Wilson, who tore an ACL in October, as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him seventh at the position.

Four-star defensive back Houston Griffith dropped his commitment to Florida State on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)