CB K.J. Wallace commits to Notre Dame's 2019 class

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

K.J. Wallace needed less than two weeks to verbally commit to his scholarship offer from Notre Dame.

The 2019 cornerback recruit announced his pledge to the Irish on Sunday. He visited Notre Dame on Saturday as part of the junior day recruiting event.

"Very excited and blessed to finally announce my commitment to the University of Notre Dame," Wallace said in part of his written announcement on Twitter.

Blessed .. pic.twitter.com/NRmHZ7Qomz

— K.J. Wallace (@KJ_WALLACE_2) January 28, 2018

Wallace received an offer from defensive backs coach Todd Lyght on Jan. 16 and quickly scheduled a visit to Notre Dame's junior day. 

Wallace, a 5-foot-10, 182-pound product of Atlanta Lovett, chose Notre Dame over offers from Stanford, Auburn, Penn State, Wisconsin, Tennessee and others. Wallace did not respond to Tribune interview requests Sunday night.

"He has really good instincts," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He's a quick-twitch athlete. He's a really smart kid who has good range and plays the ball well. He's very talented."

247Sports slates Wallace as a four-star recruit and the No. 19 cornerback in the 2019 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 48 athlete.

Wallace recorded 63 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception as a junior. He also caught 40 passes for 537 yards and six touchdowns.

"He's an outstanding talent," Lemming said. "That's a big-time catch."

Notre Dame's 2019 class now consists of three commitments with the addition of Wallace. Quarterback Cade McNamara and defensive tackle Jacob Lacey committed to the class last July. 247Sports ranks Notre Dame's three-man class at No. 14 in the country.

The commitment by Wallace extended Notre Dame’s successful trend with junior days. In the last three classes, nine recruits have signed with the Irish after verbally committing in the first several days following a junior day visit. That group includes wide receiver Micah Jones and offensive lineman Cole Mabry in the 2018 class.

Wallace's decision also provides more evidence of Notre Dame’s increased recruiting efforts in Georgia. Before signing safety Derrik Allen and tight end Tommy Tremble in December, the Irish hadn’t signed a recruit out of Georgia since punter Tyler Newsome in 2014.

"If they can get the pipeline going in Atlanta — they got one really good guy last year (Allen) and another one now — that could really help them out," Lemming said. "If you're in Georgia, it's mainly the Atlanta kids who are willing to travel."

The Peach State has become one of the top football talent producers in the country. No state had more players drafted in last year’s NFL Draft than Georgia with 27.

“It's such a fertile ground in recruiting you just need to be in there, and there's great football players in there,” head coach Brian Kelly said last month.

Notre Dame's two lead recruiters in Georgia during the three-year drought without signees from the state — former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Scott Booker — are no longer with the program. The Irish ended that streak in their first year without them.

Kelly pointed to a history of successful players coming to Notre Dame from Georgia as a possible selling point. During Kelly’s tenure, defensive end Stephon Tuitt, wide receiver TJ Jones and defensive end Isaac Rochell have come from Georgia to Notre Dame and started NFL careers.

“We need to have a great presence there,” Kelly said.

At least three Notre Dame assistant coaches spent some time recruiting in Georgia in the last two weeks: offensive coordinator Chip Long, running backs coach Autry Denson and Lyght.

Below are highlights from Wallace's junior season via Hudl.

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— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) January 28, 2018

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— Aaryn Kearney - AK (@aarynkearney) January 28, 2018

Cornerback K.J. Wallace, a 2019 recruit, committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 28, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)