Decisions coming for 2019 targets Isaiah Rutherford, Genson Hooper-Price

Staff reports
ND Insider

Even if it is as unrealistic as Julio Jones, Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr., some high school receivers compare themselves to elite NFL players.

But not Genson Hooper-Price. When the 2019 receiver was tasked with his own comparison, he rattled off an unpopular name — Josh Doctson.

Following his Sept. 29 South Bend official visit, Hooper-Price included Notre Dame in his top two. Northwestern is the other potential suitor, although Hooper-Price remains open to other schools.

Doctson, a former TCU standout and current Washington Redskins receiver, might not be the gold standard of wide receivers. His two-game rookie season marred by injuries was followed by an unproductive season two.

The 2016 first rounder’s background does not compare with Hooper-Price’s situation either. Doctson garnered two scholarship offers. He walked-on at TCU after spending his freshman season at the University of Wyoming.

His story compelled Hooper-Price, who is regarded as a three-star recruit.

“A lot of guys in the recruiting process, they kind of get a big head,” said Hooper-Price, a St. John’s (Texas) High product. “I’ve always wanted to be very humble and know where I come from. Take nothing for granted, keep your head down, keep getting better. That’s pretty much me.

“Once you step on campus, you are another player. You have not played and do not have any stars. You have to earn your right and have to play to be great.”

Hooper-Price could need that mentality if he joined the Irish. The 6-5, 205-pounder would compete with a logjam at outside receiver, as Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool and Kevin Austin are atop the ranks.

“He’s a good player and a solid wide receiver, but what they desperately need is speed,” said Tom Lemming, a CBS recruiting analyst. “A guy that can spread the defense and can allow the running game to have more room.”

The Irish are also targeting 6-3 Cornelius Johnson and already earned a pledge from 6-3 Cam Hart.

Doctson faced the same problem of being a decided underdog.

“That has definitely been a thought of mine, but I would also say a good athlete will shine either way he goes,” Hooper-Price said. “You can’t take a play off, because a guy coming up right behind you, he’s going to try to show you up.”

An announcement should be made this month, Hooper-Price said. Should he pick the Irish, fans will see a versatile receiver with 4.5 speed.

“He said I could be an inside or outside guy,” said Hooper-Price of receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander. “He said he really sees me coming in and replacing guys like Miles Boykin.

“Not right off the bat, but I would play that role as a big receiver that’s really good at everything and can stretch the field.”

Other upcoming decisions

CB Isaiah Rutherford, 6-1, 174; Jesuit (Calif.) High: Rutherford is expected to announce his commitment Saturday.

Rutherford celebrated Notre Dame’s victory over Virginia Tech, trash talking a Michigan fan on Twitter.

“I think he’s got great upside as a cover corner,” Lemming said. “He’s got the height, the length and the quick-twitch athletic ability.”

His June 17 list comprised of Colorado, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and California. Rutherford’s only official visits since have been to Notre Dame (Sept. 1), Colorado (Sept. 14) and Oregon (Sept. 22).

Rivals: Four stars, No. 9 CB | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 23 CB

K Harrison Leonard, 5-11, 180; Avon Old Farms (Conn.) High: Special teams coordinator Brian Polian will watch the 2019 kicker practice next week. Should Leonard impress, Polian will offer him a preferred walk-on spot.

“If there were a list, I would say Notre Dame is my favorite,” Leonard told ND Insider last month. “Notre Dame has always been my dream school since growing up.”

247Sports: Two stars, No. 22 kicker | Kohl: No. 7 kicker

More pending targets

A commitment from Rutherford could make 2018-19 the best back-to-back defensive back classes under coach Brian Kelly. Adding Isaiah Foskey could make 2019 Kelly’s deepest defensive line class.

“Yeah, it would be a really good class,” said Lemming if Foskey committed. “It would be comparable to the (2011) class when they brought Stephon Tuitt, Ishaq Williams — who did not turn out but was a good player — and Aaron Lynch.

“That was their best haul under Kelly, and this would be somewhat comparable to it. Different type of athletes, but still very productive guys.”

Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara — all 2016 signees — mark Notre Dame’s only defensive ends rated above three stars since the 2015 class.

Defensive ends Joshua Pakola and Bralen Trice committed last week to Stanford and Washington, respectively. But Foskey, a 6-5, 240-pounder, would be Notre Dame’s fifth four-star defensive lineman in 2019.

NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Jacob Lacey, Hunter Spears and Howard Cross III are already committed.

“He’s doing the same type of job that Mike Elko did last year,” said Lemming of defensive coordinator Clark Lea. “I think Lea has the same kind of work ethic in recruiting that is what you need as a defensive coordinator.

“That is something Notre Dame had been lacking before Elko and him coming to Notre Dame.”

WR Cornelius Johnson, 6-3, 195; Greenwich (Conn.) Brunswick School: Although a few spots remain for Notre Dame, Johnson will take his time.

Johnson took an official visit for the Sept. 1 Michigan game. He’s also interested in Stanford, Michigan, Penn State and Alabama and intends on taking official visits to the latter three.

“They have been pretty patient,” Johnson said of Notre Dame. “Obviously, there are limited spots. Not everyone can commit there. But right now I’m not stressing about that, spots filling up and things like that.”

Freshman receiver Braden Lenzy hosted Johnson and Hooper-Price for their respective visits. Johnson will announce his decision in December and signing in February, he said.

“I would fit in nicely as a guy who can go up and get the ball,” Johnson said. “But I’m also a nice route runner as well. That’s how Notre Dame sees me being used in the offense.”

247Sports: Four stars, No. 25 WR | Rivals: Three stars, No. 59 WR

Four-star CB Isaiah Rutherford committed to Notre Dame on Saturday.

The following recruits are expected to attend Saturday's game against Pittsburgh.

2019 prospects

LB J.D. Bertrand

DE Brandon Berger

DE William Enneking

2019 commits

LB Jack Kiser*

WR Cam Hart*

DT Jacob Lacey

2020 prospects

OT Trey Leroux

OT Josh Volk

RB Jason Roussell

RB Kendi Young

WR Chayce Bishop

WR Chris Mayfield

WR Chris Scott

TE Marshall Lang

LB Ethan Hurkett

S Ryan Brandt

S Semaj Brown

S Giacomo Iraci

S Alijah Sickles

S Ryan Kilburg

LB Ben Kreul

LB Jordan Turner

2020 commit

TE Kevin Bauman

2021 prospects

WR Walker Merrill

QB Ron Powlus

DE Tunmise Adeleye

DT Gabriel Rubio

*Denotes official visit