Notebook: Notre Dame in mix for official visit from four-star CB Isaiah Rutherford

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame received a spot in Isaiah Rutherford's top seven last month, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Irish will receive a visit from the four-star cornerback.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound rising senior hasn't figured out his schedule yet.

"I don't know if I'm going to take an official," Rutherford said. "I'm not sure yet. I haven't put anything together yet. I may do a visit with them."

Rutherford did say he is done making unofficial visits. His focus will remain on making official visits with the hopes of making a commitment decision by November.

How will the Carmichael (Calif.) Jesuit product separate his top seven of Alabama, California, Colorado, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon?

"Probably the relationship with the coaches," Rutherford said. "I know people say the coaches can leave. But that's a good thing to have that bond with the coaches. That's one of the things that I'm looking for."

That could be good news for Notre Dame. When asked why the Irish made his top list, Rutherford immediately named recruiting coordinator Brian Polian and cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght.

"Coach Polian and coach Lyght are really good dudes," Rutherford said. "We have a great relationship with each other."

The Irish coaching staff received a little help from Notre Dame safety commit Kyle Hamilton, who spoke to Rutherford at The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas.

"He said he loves it," Rutherford said. "He's been putting in a good word about it."

Cornerback recruiting hasn't been a top priority for the Irish lately, but the coaching staff hasn't stopped pursuing some top targets at the position. A second cornerback in the 2019 class alongside K.J. Wallace isn't a necessity after the Irish signed five potential cornerbacks in the 2018 class. Notre Dame could find room for a difference-maker at the position.

Rutherford could fit the bill. 247Sports slates him as the No. 17 cornerback in the 2019 class. Rivals ranks him No. 32 at the position.

Commitment count

The new recruiting calendar has allowed college football programs to compile commitments at a fast pace in the 2019 class.

The Irish have raced to 18 verbal commitments with nearly two months left before the season opener. Notre Dame's 2018 class didn't include 18 commitments at one time until Nov. 1 when wide receiver Geordon Porter, who eventually signed with Arizona State, gave his pledge to the Irish.

Notre Dame's not alone in taking advantage of the new recruiting landscape. Fourteen programs already have collected at least 18 commitments in the 2019 class as of Tuesday, including Temple, Miami (Ohio), Purdue and Iowa State.

A closer look at Notre Dame's reported offers in the 2019 class shows how many recruits have decided to commit early. As of Tuesday afternoon, 118 of the 197 recruits reporting Notre Dame offers currently maintain commitments to a program.

Notre Dame has put itself in a good position by hosting 94 of those 197 recruits on visits at some point in their high school careers. Early official visits also have worked in Notre Dame's favor. The Irish have hosted 14 targets in the 2019 class on official visits. Six of those visitors have since committed to Notre Dame and four have committed elsewhere..

Here's where five of Notre Dame's 2019 targets have committed to since the start of the month.

• DE Colt Ellison, 6-3, 231; Aledo (Texas) High: Ellison committed to TCU on July 6. He made an official visit to Notre Dame in April.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 24 WDE. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 46 WDE.

• DE David Ojabo, 6-5, 233; Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy: Ojabo committed to Michigan on July 2. He made an official visit to Notre Dame in June.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 36 SDE. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 41 SDE.

• WR John Metchie, 6-0, 195; Hightstown (N.J.) Peddie School: Metchie committed to Alabama on July 6. He made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in April.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 29 WR. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 41 WR.

• CB Woodi Washington, 6-0, 175; Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland: Washington committed to Oklahoma on July 6. He made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in April.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 6 CB. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 22 CB.

• RB Jirehl Brock, 5-11, 195; Quincy (Ill.) High: Brock committed to Iowa State on July 6. Notre Dame offered him in June, but he did not make a campus visit.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 7 RB. | Rivals: Four stars, No. 10 RB.

Top lists

Several Notre Dame targets in the 2019 and 2020 classes included the Irish on their top lists so far this month. Here's a look at five notable recruits still considering Notre Dame.

• OL Walter Rouse, 6-6, 276; Washington (D.C.) Sidwell Friends: The 2019 recruit has emerged as one of Notre Dame's top priorities for a fifth offensive lineman in the class. Rouse reinforced his interest by including Notre Dame in his top 10 on July 6. The Irish were joined by Ohio State, Stanford, Maryland, Duke, Virginia, Michigan, Yale, Penn State and Northwestern.

Rouse made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in June, and he plans to return for the Michigan game on an official visit.

Rivals: Three stars, No. 39 OT. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 104 OT.

• CB Trent McDuffie, 5-11, 175; Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco: The 2019 recruit included Notre Dame in his top eight on July 6. Alabama, Arizona State, Oregon, USC, Stanford, UCLA and Washington also made the list.

McDuffie visited Notre Dame for the Miami (Ohio) game last season.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 14 CB. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 38 ATH.

• DE Terrell Dawkins, 6-4, 235; Concord (N.C.) Cox Mill: In a bit of a surprising move, the 2019 recruit named Notre Dame as one of his top five schools on July 9. The list also included Ohio State, Florida, N.C. State and Tennessee.

Notre Dame offered Dawkins in May, but he has not visited campus previously.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 33 SDE. | Rivals: Three stars.

• OL Bryn Tucker, 6-5, 286; Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic: The 2020 recruit narrowed his recruitment to a top five on July 4. Notre Dame, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and Virginia Tech made the cut.

Tucker received a Notre Dame offer in January.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 2 OG. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 8 OT.

• LB Mekhail Sherman, 6-3, 235; Washington (D.C.) St. John's College: The 2020 recruit identified 10 schools receiving his attention on July 1. The list consisted of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Penn State, South Carolina, Ohio State, Auburn, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Michigan.

The Irish offered Sherman in May.

Rivals: Five stars, No. 2 OLB. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 2 OLB.

Isaiah RutherfordFour-star cornerback Isaiah Rutherford, a 2019 recruit, made a Sept. 1 official visit to Notre Dame.