Brian Kelly primed to land first Mississippi recruit in cornerback Caleb Offord

ND Insider

Barring a major change, Caleb Offord will be coming to Notre Dame.

The three-star cornerback said as much following his June 21-23 official visit to South Bend.

Offord still plans to announce his commitment on July 4.

“They are at the top of my board right now,” said the Southaven (Miss.) High product. “If nothing pops up or catches my attention that makes me take a trip up there, I will end up going to Notre Dame. But I won’t know until July 4.”

On the final weekend when schools can host rising seniors for official visits this summer, Notre Dame set its focus on cornerback recruiting.

The Irish hosted five official visitors — four of whom were cornerbacks. Cornerbacks William Nixon, Landen Bartleson, Christian Gonzalez and Offord joined wide receiver Xavier Watts on the trip.

The Irish needed good news after missing on their share of defensive backs on the recruiting trail. Once considered as a top Irish target, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic safety Jordan Morant added to that list after committing to Michigan on Sunday. Top cornerback target Clark Phillips III verbally pledged to Ohio State on Friday.

Offord looks to be Notre Dame’s best bet following the weekend. Residing on the northwest tip of Mississippi and about 10 minutes from Memphis, Tenn., Offord would become the first Mississippi recruit to sign with the Irish under head coach Brian Kelly.

 “I like that they aren’t in a conference,” Offord said. "They get to mix up who they play, so they can play competition everywhere. The coaches were talking about how their first game next season will be played overseas in Ireland. I like how they mix up everything.”

The Irish only began communicating with Offord in May. After Notre Dame extended an offer on May 23, Offord took a June 8-9 unofficial visit. That trip ascended the Irish to the top.

Duke, Kentucky, Houston and Arkansas are among other schools vying for Offord. 247Sports ranks Offord as its No. 43 cornerback and No. 528 overall player, while Rivals slates him No. 61 at the position.

“The atmosphere, everybody treats you like family,” Offord said. “Even if they don’t know you, they treat you like family. They’ve got some great fans and great people in their area. I just like the whole atmosphere and the vibe I get from over there.”

Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght told Offord he would likely begin his career at boundary corner, Offord said.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder exclusively plays cornerback in high school and recently clocked a 4.57 40-yard dash. He flashes solid press-technique abilities, which ND’s boundary corner position requires. Offord could also develop into a safety.

All five official visitors spent their final night at Kelly’s lakehouse. Offord spent most of his time there with Irish safety Jalen Elliott and cornerbacks Houston Griffith and Donte Vaughn. Offord would join cornerback commit Clarence Lewis for Notre Dame’s 2020 recruiting class.

“People I didn’t know were treating me like a player already,” Offord said. “They were excited to see me, and I didn’t even know them. I like how the coaches there all get along very well.

“You could be the photographer or head coach there, and they will treat both the same way.”

So good I had to come back for seconds ☘️

— ⁵ (@caleb_offord) June 23, 2019

Great official visit to Notre Dame!!!! Thank you to the Notre Dame staff, go Irish☘️☘️

— William Nixon (@william_nixonTD) June 23, 2019

Enjoyed South Bend☘️

— Xavier Watts (@xavierwatts6) June 23, 2019

Southaven (Miss.) High's Caleb Offord, a 2020 cornerback, took a June 21-23 official visit to Notre Dame.