Notre Dame safety commit Kyle Hamilton not following family business

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Successful basketball players surround Kyle Hamilton.

His father, Derrek, followed a college basketball career at Southern Miss with 16 years of professional basketball played mostly overseas. Derrek Hamilton turned that expertise into an occupation. He trains basketball players at Pro Purpose Development in Atlanta.

Derrek Hamilton’s client list has included NBA players Rajon Rondo, Lou Williams, Iman Shumpert, Jodie Meeks and more. He’s also trained his sons to play basketball. His oldest son, Tyler, just finished his junior season at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kyle Hamilton, a junior at Marist School in Atlanta, has a college career ahead of him too. But instead of basketball, Kyle Hamilton’s future is on the football field. There’s just not enough contact on the basketball court for his liking.

“Basketball can be a little soft at times,” Kyle Hamilton said “It’s usually a family business, but I switched it up a little bit.”

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound safety announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday. It marked the end of a recruitment that picked up plenty of steam to start the year. Following a junior season with 60 tackles, eight pass breakups and six interceptions offers started to pile up for Hamilton.

From Jan. 1 to April 6, Hamilton reported 29 scholarship offers. Notre Dame joined the mix in February.

“It was a little hectic at times, but it was fun,” Hamilton said. “It’s a process that most kids don’t get to experience. You have to make the most of it.”

Hamilton didn’t waste much time narrowing his focus. He made visits to several schools before declaring Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Northwestern and Duke as his top schools.

By late March, Hamilton indicated to Notre Dame’s coaching staff that he wanted to be Irish. But he still made visits to Georgia and Michigan before publicly sharing his commitment to Notre Dame.

“After the visits, I was like, ‘Yeah, I know where I want to go,’” Hamilton said.

Passing up an offer from Georgia, fresh off its appearance in the national championship game, wasn’t an easy choice.

“It was pretty tough knowing that your in-school state wants you and everybody around you is Georgia fans,” Hamilton said. “I kept an open mind and thought Notre Dame was the place for me.”

Notre Dame should have plenty of fellow Georgia products on the roster when Hamilton arrives in 2019. That season, Notre Dame will play against Georgia in Athens on Sept. 21.

The Irish signed three recruits from Georgia in the 2018 class: safety Derrik Allen, tight end Tommy Tremble and running back C’Bo Flemister. Hamilton joined cornerback K.J. Wallace as the second commitment from Atlanta in the 2019 class.

“I’ve been good friends with K.J. for years now. It’s going to be pretty fun to play with him.”

Recruiting services haven’t shown as much appreciation for Hamilton as college coaches did. He’s been labeled as a three-star recruit.

247Sports slates him as the No. 25 safety in the 2019 class. Rivals did not list him among the top 70 athletes, a designation given to recruits that can play multiple position.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea and safeties coach Terry Joseph pursued Hamilton as a safety to pair with Litchfield Ajavon in the 2019 class.

“I really like how much freedom the safeties get,” Hamilton said of Notre Dame’s defense. “It will allow them to make a lot of plays and fly around. I like coach Joseph, the way he teaches and how he reaches out to players not in a critical way but more of a positive way.”

Hamilton’s commitment came at the end of a five-day streak of new pledges for the Irish. If Notre Dame’s coaching staff orchestrated the impressive run, they didn’t let Hamilton know about it.

“Five commits in five days, that’s pretty crazy,” Hamilton said. “I had no clue. I don’t think anybody did.”

In the end, the decision was simple. As clearly as Hamilton prefers football over basketball, he preferred Notre Dame over all his other offers.

“That’s the place where I’d thrive the most,” Hamilton said, “grow as a student and grow as a player.”

tjames@ndinsider.com 574-235-6214 Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Kyle Hamilton, one of Notre Dame’s 2019 signees, could secure five-star status on 247Sports in the coming weeks.