Different path leads CB commit Tariq Bracy to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Tariq Bracy broke convention with his verbal commitment to Notre Dame.

It didn’t come following a recent campus visit, it required him to choose a school independent of his twin brother, and it was announced at an abnormally late time of day.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior from Milpitas (Calif.) High tweeted the news Sunday at 11:52 p.m. EST.

“With that being said, for the next 4-5 years I am excited to announce that I will continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Notre Dame!!” Bracy wrote in part of his released statement.

Hours after Notre Dame ended an important recruiting weekend on campus, the first bit of good news came from 1,900 miles away. Turns out Bracy, being recruited as a cornerback, was ready to join Notre Dame’s 2018 class before the weekend even started.

“Last week, I want to say Thursday,” Bracy said late Sunday night of when he made up his mind. “I thought about it and figured I wanted to be Irish.”

Notre Dame impressed Bracy on an official visit for the USC game in October, but he wasn’t in a hurry to make a decision. He was still closely considering offers from Washington State, Utah and San Diego State.

“I wanted to take another visit to compare it to other schools and make sure I didn’t see anything differently or had a change of heart,” Bracy said. “I recently went to visit San Diego State, and I was able to make a comparison. I still wanted to commit to Notre Dame.”

San Diego State made the decision harder by extending scholarship offers to Tariq and his twin brother, TyRee. Most of the bigger programs recruiting Tariq weren’t as interested in TyRee, a 5-11, 180-pound quarterback.

As recently as October, Tariq Bracy told The Mercury News that he planned to play college football with his twin.

“It was difficult, especially San Diego State saying that they’d take both of us,” Tariq Bracy said Sunday. “I had to take a step back, but I made my decision.”

The twins will try to win a California Interscholastic Federation Division 4-A state championship on Saturday. The past weekend, Tariq Bracy helped Milpitas advance with 310 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 52-38 victory.

Tariq Bracy has been a star at running back this season. Through the first 11 games, he turned 146 carries into 1,280 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns.

But the Irish have liked Bracy as a cornerback prospect since May. Recruiting coordinator Brian Polian extended a scholarship offer and led Notre Dame’s recruitment of Bracy.

Polian visited Bracy each of the first two weeks in the current contact period with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght making the trip with him on Nov. 26.

“I can talk to him about anything,” Bracy said of Polian. “He calls me frequently. I call him. We’ve built a good relationship together.”

247Sports slates Bracy as a four-star recruit and the No. 20 athlete, a label for recruits who can play multiple positions, in the 2018 class. Rivals rates him as three-star recruit and the No. 39 athlete.

“He’s a pretty good running back,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s not really big, that’s his problem. He’s a good catch, especially this late in the year. He wasn’t heavily recruited because of his size, but he’s very instinctive.”

The addition of Bracy gives Notre Dame two cornerbacks in the 2018 class — the other being three-star recruit Joe Wilkins Jr. — and 18 total commitments. Rivals ranks Notre Dame’s class No. 7 nationally. 247Sports pegs it at No. 8.

Notre Dame has struggled keeping commitments at cornerback in the last year. In the 2017 class, Paulson Adebo and Elijah Hicks left the Irish to sign with Stanford and California, respectively. In May, 2018 cornerback Kalon Gervin, a four-star recruit, dropped a three-month commitment to the Irish. He gave his pledge to Michigan State earlier this month.

Both Bracy and Wilkins have said they plan to sign with Notre Dame during the three-day, early signing period that starts Dec. 20. The Irish have continued to recruit cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Noah Boykin as well as defensive backs Houston Griffith and Julius Irvin, both of whom could play safety or cornerback. All four player are rated as four-star recruits.

The three newest additions to Notre Dame’s 2018 class have been defensive backs: safety Paul Moala, Wilkins and Bracy. Despite Bracy’s recruitment following a different path, he came to the same realization.

“The coaching staff made me feel like I was welcomed. The players too,” Bracy said. “Academically, it’s a great school. The football competition is great. As a Power Five independent, you can play anybody every year.”

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame cornerback commit Tariq Bracy celebrates scoring a touchdown for Milpitas (Calif.) High against Wilcox in October. (Photo courtesy of Bay Area News Group/Jim Gensheimer)