Notre Dame commit recap: RB Kyren Williams captures second state title after career day

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Two Notre Dame commits captured state titles over the weekend, joining Jack Kiser, Howard Cross III and Kevin Bauman. A few playoff losses leaves just three verbal pledges contending for championships. ND Insider recaps how eight verbal pledges performed over the weekend.

2019 RB Kyren Williams | Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney 28, Fort Osage 14: Williams took advantage of his career-high 26 carries in Vianney’s MSHSAA Class 5 title victory at Faurot Field. He registered a career-high 289 rushing yards, and his lone touchdown, a 71-yard run, brought Vianney’s deficit to 14-13 at the end of the third quarter.

The Golden Griffiths (14-0) trailed 14-0 at halftime, but Williams and backfield teammate, Percy Mitchell, scored 28 unanswered points and combined for 379 rushing yards. Williams also caught five passes for 65 yards. He finished the season with 2,035 rushing yards, 725 receiving yards and 40 total touchdowns.

Irish fans have to be excited about #NotreDame RB commit Kyren Williams (@Kyrensiren).

In last night’s MSHSAA Class 5 state title win: 26 carries for 289 yards & 1 TD + 65 rec yards.

His final stats in 15 games this season: 2,035 rushing yards, 725 rec yards and 40 total TDs.

— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) December 2, 2018

Vianney won the 2016 state title but suffered a loss in the quarterfinals last season. Williams, now a four-star recruit on 247Sports, intends to sign in December and enroll at Notre Dame next semester.

“Coming out of the loss last year, we had a chip on our shoulders this whole season for that to not happen ever again,” Williams told ND Insider. “After we got that victory, it was surreal, because it’s my last three weeks at the school. I took that all in. It was bitter-sweet, really.”

Thank you Griffin Nation...

20 Signing off✌ pic.twitter.com/ejsZ9oRcVR

— Kyren Williams (@Kyrensiren) December 3, 2018

Williams plans on hosting head coach Brian Kelly and running backs coach Autry Denson for an in-home visit Monday night. Offensive coordinator Chip Long and receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander stopped by Vianney late last week.

Talk about a leader in @Kyrensiren this is a team that never gave up, and played for eachother all season! Blessed to be apart of the brotherhood of a team like this. #STATECHAMPSpic.twitter.com/1BxiQRTEmf

— Zach Adamec (@ZachAdamec71) December 2, 2018

ND Insider will have more on Williams later this week.

2019 DT Jacob Lacey | Bowling Green (Ky.) South Warren 20, Covington Catholic 16: Lacey capped a dominant four-year career by capturing his second KHSAA Class 5A championship. Friday’s title victory came against Michael Mayer, ND’s 2020 tight end commit. Lacey amassed seven tackles with two TFLs, one sack and a forced fumble.

Jacob Lacey takes the then disappears pic.twitter.com/HOjiaL2xXE

— Elliott Pratt (@EPrattBGDN) December 2, 2018

Lacey wreaked havoc in the final two months of his high school career. Across his final eight games, Lacey recorded 52 tackles, 13 sacks, 26 TFLs and four forced fumbles. The 6-foot-2, 285-pounder dropped 15 pounds before the season, which showed through his stamina and first step.

Jacob Lacey discusses South Warren’s win over Covington Catholic in the Class 5A state championship. pic.twitter.com/3kLmmpzxTX

— The Sporting Times (@sportingtimes) December 2, 2018

The defensive tackle — who won his first state title as a freshman — was not as productive earlier this season due to limited action via blowouts. The Spartans (15-0) outscored opponents 624-145 this season. Lacey hosted Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston for an in-home visit last Monday. He will welcome Kelly for an in-home visit on Tuesday. Lacey will also enroll early.

2019 QB Brendon Clark | Midlothian (Va.) Manchester 42, Ocean Lakes 3: Manchester’s 42 points were its second-lowest scoring total of the season. Clark went 11-of-17 for 134 yards and two touchdowns with seven rushes for 15 yards and a touchdown. His best throw came on a 57-yard touchdown strike to Alston Robinson.

The Lancers (14-0), who have allowed double-digits in scoring just once this season, cruise to the VHSL 6A title game. Manchester will face Freedom (13-1) on Saturday afternoon. Clark’s TD-INT ratio for the season now stands at 32-1. ND quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees visited Clark last Wednesday.

2020 QB Drew Pyne | New Canaan (Conn.) High 38, Fairfield Prep 7: New Canaan labored through an 11-day stretch in which it faced rival Darien and played in two playoff games. Pyne shined in all three contests. Against Fairfield Prep, Pyne went 22-of-28 for 222 yards and a touchdown.

Last week, New Canaan upset then-unbeaten one-seed Shelton thanks to Pyne's 217 passing yards and three touchdowns. Pyne has not lit up the stat sheet, but he’s playing efficient football. Two of Pyne’s three interceptions this season came against St. Joseph in the season opener.

The Rams (10-2) clash with two-seed Greenwich (12-0), home of 2019 Notre Dame receiver target, Cornelius Johnson, in the CIAC Class LL title game on Saturday. Rees visited Pyne’s school last Friday.

2019 S Kyle Hamilton | Atlanta Marist 14, Cartersville 17: With ND defensive backs coach Terry Joseph in attendance in Marist’s GHSA-AAAA semifinal loss, Hamilton made a few jaw-dropping plays. In his best game of the season, Hamilton intercepted two passes, rushed four times for 17 yards and caught six passes for 92 yards.

His first interception in the second quarter halted the momentum of Cartersville, which obtained an early 10-0 advantage. Late in the third quarter, Hamilton read the eyes of Cartersville’s quarterback, undercutting his pass and diving for a second pick.

pic.twitter.com/cd20QrqYqJ

— Derrek Hamilton (@hoops527dh) December 1, 2018

pic.twitter.com/DkIW9FkwwX

— Derrek Hamilton (@hoops527dh) December 1, 2018

Perhaps no play, however, stood out more than Hamilton’s 44-yard diving reception. Marist capitalized with a score on the next play, trimming its deficit to 10-7 before halftime. He also recorded five tackles.

Great High School career ending with your brothers tonight but the future is oh so bright ☘️☘️☘️ #POPSpic.twitter.com/jWiy07LSc0

— Derrek Hamilton (@hoops527dh) December 1, 2018

Hamilton’s effort was not enough for the War Eagles (11-3), who won’t have a chance at vengeance against Bertrand’s Blessed Trinity. His productive season may boost him to a five-star rating on 247Sports, though. 

2019 LB JD Bertrand | Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic 51, Troup County 35: The Titans (14-0) emerged on top in a shootout that saw Ohio State commit Steele Chambers run for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 36 attempts. Bertrand recorded five tackles, 1.5 TFLs and ran once for a seven-yard gain.

Blessed Trinity will square off against Cartersville (14-0) in the GHSA-AAAA title game next Wednesday on Dec. 12. Loaded with Division I talent, the Titans are winners of 20 straight. Joseph visited Bertrand last Thursday.

2020 TE Michael Mayer | Park Hills (Ky.) Covington Catholic 16, South Warren 20: Mayer helped Covington Catholic battle back from a 13-0 halftime deficit thanks to his 58-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter. The Colonels (14-1) ultimately suffered their first loss since Nov. 18, 2016.

Covington Catholic defeated all but one team by at least 16 points this season prior to the KHSA Class 5A title bout.

“We knew they had not been punched in the mouth all season,” Jacob Lacey told the Bowling Green Daily News after the game. “That’s what we came out and did, and they responded well. We just held it together and did not break.”

Last season, the Colonels downed the Spartans 43-7 in the semifinals before winning the state title. Offensive coordinator Chip Long visited Covington Catholic last Friday.

2019 OL Andrew Kristofic | Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland 0, St. Joseph’s Prep 37: St. Joseph’s Prep avenged last season’s PIAA 6A championship loss to Pine-Richland in dominating fashion. St. Joseph used the pouring rain conditions to its advantage, limiting quarterback Cole Spencer to 39 yards and two interceptions on 6-of-25 passing.

Neither team established much of a running game, as St. Joseph’s offense mostly came through the air. The Rams (11-3) became WPIAL 6A champions before losing in Saturday’s semifinal. No ND coaches have visited Kristofic since the new contact period, but they intend to this week.

Season ended: WR Kendall Abdur Rahman, OL John Olmstead, WR Cam Hart, OL Quinn Carroll, LB Osita Ekwonu, LB Marist Liufau, S Litchfield Ajavon, CB Isaiah Rutherford, CB K.J. Wallace, P Jay Bramblett, OL Zeke Correll, DT Hunter Spears, DT NaNa Osafo-Mensah, LB Jack Kiser, TE Kevin Bauman, DE Howard Cross III.

*Stats were provided by players, coaches, parents, MaxPreps and the following news organizations: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bowling Green Daily News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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