Three-star RB Kyren Williams commits to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Kyren Williams didn't plan on making a college decision until October.

That was until his official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend.

Four days later, the three-star running back announced his verbal commitment to the Irish in a ceremony at Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney.

"Once you know somewhere is home, you have to shoot the gun," Williams said Thursday night. "You have to let it go."

The 5-foot-10, 201-pound Williams has become pretty familiar with Notre Dame in the past two years. He attended the Virginia Tech game in 2016, participated in the Irish Invasion last June and returned for a junior day in January shortly after receiving a Notre Dame offer.

Williams had seen enough by the end of his official visit Sunday.

"Just hanging out with the players and seeing what the players do on a daily basis and what they go through with the workouts, that's what changed my mind," Williams said. "That got me really high on Notre Dame. I knew it was the place for me."

The visit allowed Notre Dame to separate itself from the other seven schools Williams had been focusing on: Missouri, Michigan, Stanford, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan State.

Williams emerged as one of Notre Dame's top priorities at running back in the 2019 class earlier in the spring. Running backs coach Autry Denson led the pursuit of the undersized playmaker.

Williams has experience at running back, wide receiver and defensive back. In his junior season at St. John Vianney, Williams rushed 119 times for 922 yards and 22 touchdowns, he caught 51 passes for 774 yards and 12 touchdowns and recorded 37 tackles, four interceptions and three sacks.

"He's a terrific all-around athlete," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He's small for a running back, but he can be an all-purpose back that fits into a spread offense where he can run and catch. He has really good hands. He's an elite player."

247Sports slates Williams as the No. 19 running back in the 2019 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 34 athlete, a designation given to recruits who can play multiple positions.

With Notre Dame recruiting Williams as a running back, he has become the lone offensive skill player committed to Notre Dame's 2019 class, which now includes 15 members. The other four commits on offense are linemen.

The Irish were able to pitch Williams on the possibility of early playing time with a limited depth chart at running back. Notre Dame has only three scholarship running backs on its roster with eligibility remaining for 2019: junior Tony Jones Jr. and freshmen Jahmir Smith and C'Bo Flemister.

"The running back depth chart isn't really long or have any depth," Williams said. "They told me if I come in and work, I have a good chance of playing. That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to work my butt off and chase after all my dreams I've set for myself."

Williams also developed a trust in Denson.

"We have a strong relationship. We talk probably every day. We text back and forth," Williams said. "I like coach Denson not just as a coach, but as a person. He's really a God-based, down-to-earth, great person."

The 2019 recruiting cycle has worked in Notre Dame's favor to date. With juniors allowed to take official visits in April through June for the first time, the Irish have adjusted their calendar of recruiting events to take advantage of the opportunities. The result? Five of Notre Dame's commitments in the class have given the Irish their pledge after making an official visit.

247Sports pegs Notre Dame's 15-man class as the third-best in the country behind only Alabama and Texas A&M. Rivals ranks the Irish fourth with Oklahoma at No. 3.

Williams was one of eight official visitors the Irish hosted over the weekend. Both he and four-star offensive lineman Zeke Correll have committed since those visits. Now Williams can clear his travel schedule.

"It's a big weight lifted off my shoulders," Williams said. "It was one thing I was worried about. Now that it's over, I can enjoy myself, focus on high school football, my family, my friends and not have to worry about college or where I'm going. No more visits or anything."

Below are highlights of Williams from his junior season and video from his announcement Thursday night.

“I go through it so that God would be glorified from it”

120% COMMITTED!

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME☘️ pic.twitter.com/rtEu48gfCJ

— Kyren Williams (@Kyrensiren) June 21, 2018

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) June 21, 2018

#FightClub19 ☘️ pic.twitter.com/t8T1SyM762

— Aaryn Kearney (AK) (@aarynkearney) June 21, 2018

Kyren Williams, Notre Dame's 2019 running back commit, is now a four-star on 247Sports' updated rankings.