Notre Dame takes closer look at J.D. Bertrand, quartet of 2020 receivers

Staff reports
ND Insider

Only two recruiting targets will visit Notre Dame Stadium this weekend — 2020 defensive ends Braiden McGregor and Jalen Logan-Redding.

But a bevy of 2020 and 2021 prospects will be in South Bend for the Florida State game. The most interesting among them are receivers.

The Irish are securing a fine defensive class for 2019. Quarterbacks Brendon Clark and Drew Pyne verbally pledged for 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Irish will not ink any tight ends for their upcoming class but already garnered a pair of commits from four-stars Kevin Bauman and Michael Mayer in 2020.

Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney’s Kyren Williams, a 2019 commit, told ND Insider that he will be the only running back taken in this class. Two 2020 running backs that planned on visiting — Cypress (Calif.) High’s Isaac Hurtado and Fairfield (Ohio) High’s Jutahn McClain — backed out. That will be a position to watch going forward.

Lincoln-Way East (Ill.) all-purpose back A.J. Henning, a candidate to fill ND’s need for a speedy, versatile playmaker, is among 22 2020 recruits the Irish have offered at running back and receiver. The 5-10, 175-pound four-star visited for the Sept. 1 Michigan game. Quarterback coach Tommy Rees journeyed to his school during the bye week.

Henning will continue playoff action on Friday against Edwardsville — home of 2019 receiver commit Kendall Abdur-Rahman.

“He could be a wing back or a running back, he’s got great speed and he knows how to gain yardage,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “Yards after catch, he’s phenomenal. I think he could be a big-time guy. He’s not really big, but he’s the kind of guy you can put out in space and cause damage.”

While Henning will not be among Saturday’s visitors, a few other talented receivers will swing by South Bend. ND Insider takes a closer look at this weekend’s attendees, starting with receivers.

WR Maliq Carr, 6-5, 215; Oak Park (Mich.) High: Carr’s numbers tell a lot about the type of player he is. Through 10 regular season games, he hauled in a mere 19 passes.

He turned that into 665 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Malik is a terrific athlete.” Lemming said. “Not blazing speed, but he’s big. He fits perfectly into what Notre Dame is looking for. He’s got big hands, catches the ball well…he’s also a really good basketball player, so he’s got the leaping ability and the hands. In my opinion, Maliq Carr is going to end up in the NFL. I have no idea why they didn’t offer him earlier.”

Carr’s length allows for a large catch radius. He operates as an outside receiver for the Knights, snagging most passes far down the field. Carr touts his athleticism on the basketball court, too, averaging 21.2 points, 12.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game last season.

With offers from Boston College, Iowa, Iowa State and Kentucky, Carr is still in play for the Irish.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 117 WR, No. 652 overall | Rivals: Three stars

WR Jalen Suggs, 6-5, 185; Minneapolis (Minn.) Minnehaha Academy: Suggs’ future at receiver, or even football, remains a question. Suggs plays quarterback for the Red Knights and could find more success in basketball.

ESPN and Rivals rate Suggs as a five-star point guard. Should he choose football or play both sports, he could develop into an athletic outside receiver that fits the Notre Dame prototype — as could Carr.

Suggs has football offers from Minnesota, Ohio State, California, Nebraska, Iowa and Iowa State.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 6 DUAL, No. 226 overall | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 7 DUAL, No. 274 overall

WR Ja’Khi Douglas, 5-9, 185; Houma (La.) Terrebonne: Douglas is not just the best receiver visiting South Bend. He’s also the best fit.

247Sports lists Douglas’ 40-yard dash at 4.48. He would operate from the slot in college. Douglas’ numbers — 10 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns through 10 games — compare to Carr’s impressive yards per catch.

Terrebonne hones in on Douglas’ explosiveness, using him at quarterback, running back and as a kick returner. He has turned 109 carries into 589 yards and nine touchdowns and has thrown for 665 yards and six touchdowns.

Of the four 2020 receivers visiting, Douglas has proven himself against premiere competition. With offers from LSU, Alabama and Florida, Douglas could be difficult to lure.

“But that’s what they are supposed to do,” said Lemming of Notre Dame. “I like the attitude, going after the best players.”

247Sports: Four stars, No. 16 WR, No. 84 overall | Rivals: Three stars

WR Izayah Cummings, 6-3, 200; Louisville (Ky.) Male: Cummings marks another fast receiver, although he’s likely not as fast as Douglas. Most of Cummings’ production last season came on deep fade routes while lined up on the outside.

Beyond creating separation, Cummings can haul in 50-50 passes with his frame. His home team, Louisville, offered him in the summer. Kentucky, Cincinnati, Duke and Indiana also have extended offers.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 64 WR, No. 334 overall | Rivals: Three stars

Bertrand visit

J.D. Bertrand, Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic’s four-star linebacker, selected Notre Dame as his second visit after decommitting from Georgia last month.

Although he left ND’s Oct. 13 contest against Pittsburgh without an offer in hand, Bertrand quickly scheduled another South Bend trip. The Irish are crunched for numbers and aren’t certain if they will have room, but Bertrand’s moves are a good sign.

Bertrand told ND Insider that his family will stay with Kyle Hamilton’s family for the trip. The 2019 commit out of Atlanta Marist knows Bertrand and is actively recruiting him.

An OL to watch

Andrew Raym, a Broken Arrow (Okla.) High offensive lineman, decommitted from Oklahoma in early May. One day later, the Irish offered the four-star. Raym backed out of this weekend’s trip, which he also did before ND’s Sept. 1 game against Michigan.

Mitchell Mayes of Raleigh (N.C.) Sanderson, another four-star offensive lineman, will be in town. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 3 OT and No. 24 overall player. Rivals labels him as the No. 20 OT and No. 188 overall.

“He’s more of a finesse type of tackle,” Lemming said. “Good quickness off the ball, flexibility, size, aggressive.”

The Irish earned commits from a quartet of 2019 four-star offensive lineman — Zeke Correll, Quinn Carroll, John Olmstead and Andrew Kristofic.

Poaching time

The Irish planned on hosting a pair of recruits committed elsewhere. Ma’a Gaoteote, a 2021 linebacker verbally pledged to USC, has backed out due to a scheduling conflict. Gaoteote’s older brother, Palaie Gaoteote IV, is a freshman linebacker for the Trojans.

Eli Acker, a 2020 offensive tackle committed to Ole Miss, intends on visiting this weekend. The Columbus (Miss.) Heritage Academy product, a 6-5, 260-pounder, rates as a three-star on 247Sports and Rivals.

Houma (La.) Terrebonne receiver Ja’Khi Douglas, a 2020 four-star recruit, will take an unofficial visit for Notre Dame’s game against Florida State this weekend. Credit: HOUMA TIMES/Deno Theriot

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

2020 targets

DE Braiden McGregor

DE Jalen Logan-Redding

2019 commits

CB K.J. Wallace

LB Osita Ekwonu

LB Jack Kiser

OL Andrew Kristofic*

DT Jacob Lacey 

S Kyle Hamilton

2020 commit

TE Michael Mayer

2019 prospects

LB J.D. Bertrand

ATH Marist Liufau*

TE William Enneking

2020 prospects

WR Maliq Carr

WR Izayah Cummings

WR Ja'Khi Douglas

WR Jalen Suggs

ATH Landen Bartleson

ATH DJ Hamler

ATH Enzo Jennings

ATH Cameron Martinez

ATH Caleb Willis  

RB Kyle Edwards

RB Jaylon Roussell

OL Eli Acker

OL Mitchell Mayes

OL Monroe Mills

DT Braedon Nutter

DB Briston Bennett

DB Alaka'i Gilman

DB Bangally Kamara

DB Devyn King

DB David Laney

DB Christian Miller

DB Josh Minkins Jr.

DB Kristian Story

LB Griffin Lampton

LB Tyson Meiguez

2021 prospects

QB Santino Marucci

WR Daylan Carnell

WR Cristian Dixon

WR KJ Liggins

ATH Kamonté Grimes

RB Corey Kiner

OL Blake Fisher

OL Jackson Walls

QB Chayden Peery

DE Jack Hollifield

DE Landyn Watson

*Denotes official visit