T.J. Sheffield becomes second wide receiver to commit to Notre Dame's 2019 class

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

T.J. Sheffield announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Friday, but he's not quite ready to shut down his recruitment.

The wide receiver still wants to make official visits to Ohio State and Purdue. He plans to return to Notre Dame for the Stanford game in September on an official visit.

So as far as commitments go, Sheffield's should only be written down in pencil. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound recruit last visited Notre Dame in January shortly after receiving an offer from the Irish.

"My relationship with (wide receivers) coach (DelVaughn) Alexander, and the education of course," Sheffield said of his reasons for committing to Notre Dame. "When I went up there, I felt like I was at home. I could be a great fit on the football team. I loved the atmosphere of Notre Dame."

Sheffield has already been through one commitment. From Nov. 2016 to Oct. 2017, Sheffield was committed to Tennessee. But his focus turned to other schools in the last several months including Arkansas, Penn State, Louisville, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

Sheffield said he told Alexander of his plan to visit Ohio State and Purdue in the future.

"He was cool about it," Sheffield said. "I'm committed to them for sure."

As of Friday evening, head coach Brian Kelly had not yet shared his customary "#WeAreND" tweet that typically follows verbal commitments. The Irish coaching staff can't publicly comment on a recruit, but his lack of a celebratory tweet likely wasn't accidental. Sheffield's recruitment doesn't appear to be a done deal.

If Sheffield's commitment sticks, he gives the Irish two wide receivers in the 2019 class. Three-star recruit Cam Hart previously joined the class on Wednesday. Sheffield extended a hot week for the Irish with commitments from three-star quarterback Brendon Clark in the 2019 class on Wednesday and four-star tight end Michael Mayer in the 2020 class on Sunday.

Notre Dame's 2019 class now includes 18 verbal commitments. Both Rivals and 247Sports peg the class No. 5 nationally. Only Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Michigan and LSU have higher ranked classes on either recruiting site.

Hart, at 6-3, 190, brings size to Notre Dame's class. Sheffield brings speed. He's recorded personal bests of 10.78 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 22.19 in the 200 and 50.01 in the 400 as a sprinter at Thompson's Station (Tenn.) Independence.

He's also shown explosiveness with a long jump of 22-feet-9.75 inches and a high jump of 6-0. On the football field, Sheffield caught 56 passes for 840 yards and five touchdowns and rushed 24 times for 119 yards and one touchdown in his junior season.

"He's an explosive guy," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He's prolific. He's fast. He's a four-star guy.

"Notre Dame needed a receiver like this. They've had a lot of big receivers. This is a guy who can create in the open field and also stretch a defense."

247Sports slates Sheffield as a four-star recruit and the No. 39 wide receiver in the 2019 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 56 wide receiver.

#GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/fKLmE2bwnj

— Tj Sheffield (@the_tj2) July 6, 2018

Wide receiver T.J. Sheffield, right, announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Friday.