Three-star WR Jay Brunelle commits to Notre Dame following Michigan official visit
An "amazing weekend" at Michigan wasn't enough to keep Jay Brunelle from committing to Notre Dame.
That's how the three-star wide receiver described his recent official visit with the Wolverines in a tweet Monday. Earlier that day, Brunelle's high school teammate Eamonn Dennis announced his commitment to Michigan too.
But on Wednesday, Brunelle announced his pledge to the Irish.
“I was flipping back and forth between Michigan and Notre Dame,” Brunelle said Wednesday night. “I really just had to almost take a step back after the Michigan official, weigh out everything and see where my heart was. My heart was at Notre Dame."
Brunelle’s recruitment moved fast in the past month, just like he does on the football field. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver didn't even have an offer from Notre Dame to start the month. That changed June 9 when Brunelle impressed the coaching staff at the Irish Invasion camp.
Brunelle didn't just pop up on Notre Dame's recruiting radar recently. He also attended a junior day on campus in February. At that time, Brunelle had only received a pair of Power Five scholarship offers: Michigan and Boston College. He was told by Notre Dame’s coaching staff that they wanted to see him at a camp in June.
“I worked for those months and I knew I had to put on a show if I wanted an offer from Notre Dame,” Brunelle said. “That was my mindset heading into it. I was going to pour everything out on the field and let the results happen. Good things came from that."
When a portion of the Irish Invasion participants moved inside the Loftus Sports Center for one-on-one drills, Brunelle recorded four catches on his only four reps against fellow campers. Earlier in the camp, Brunelle recorded a hand-timed, 40-yard dash of 4.48 seconds in the rain. Now Notre Dame can look forward to Brunelle making more highlight plays on campus in the coming years.
Though Brunelle’s decision came down to Notre Dame and Michigan, he added offers from the likes of West Virginia, Rutgers, Wake Forest and UCLA earlier this year. Despite the surge in offers, the Shrewsbury (Mass.) St. John's product has remained as a middling three-star recruit.
247Sports slates Brunelle as the No. 125 wide receiver in the 2020 class. Rivals did not include Brunelle on its list of the top 100 wide receivers in the class.
In his junior season at St. John's, Brunelle caught 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 games.
Brunelle gives Notre Dame its second wide receiver commitment in the 2020 class along with Jordan Johnson, who recently received a five-star rating from Rivals. The Irish are also pushing to add Omaha (Neb.) Burke wide receiver Xavier Watts, a three-star recruit, to the class.
"He's the kind of kid that they need," CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said of Brunelle. "He has good height, he has good hands and he has really good speed. He's a good catch for Notre Dame. He would complement Johnson and Watts really well. They're doing pretty good if they get those three in."
Still, the Irish could have done better. The last two days also included bad news on the receiver recruiting front for Notre Dame. On Tuesday, four-star wide receiver Jalen McMillan committed to Washington. On Wednesday, four-star recruit A.J. Henning committed to Michigan. Both were early recruiting targets at the position for the Irish.
“It would still be a very good haul,” Lemming said of a potential Johnson, Brunelle and Watts trio. “But wide receiver is the one position that is absolutely loaded every year around the country. Jordan Johnson is big time, as is Watts. It’s a good haul, but they struck out on a lot of wide receivers.”
With the addition of Brunelle, Notre Dame's 2020 class consists of 15 verbal commitments. Both Rivals and 247Sports peg the class No. 6 nationally. Michigan sits two spots behind the Irish on both lists. The two schools have crossed paths frequently in the 2020 class.
Notre Dame’s coaching staff stayed in touch with Brunelle after he returned home from his Michigan official visit Sunday night. Brunelle said he heard from almost everyone on the coaching staff by Tuesday night. Offensive coordinator Chip Long and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander expressed to Brunelle how much they needed a receiver like him in the offense.
“They put the ball in the playmakers hands and put people in positions to do some damage,” Brunelle said. “Coach Alexander's going to play the best players. You see that with (former walk-on) Chris Finke and his journey. I'm going to head in there with a chip on my shoulder and try my best to contribute and be a playmaker for the offense."
Brunelle said he could play as an outside receiver or in the slot, but that decision can wait. On Wednesday morning, Brunelle let Notre Dame’s coaching staff know he was ready to be Irish.
“I just felt a little bit more comfortable with my fit at Notre Dame,” Brunelle said. “The decision was really close. I was flipping back and forth. But deep down I just thought, 'What's best for me in the next four years and the next 40 years after?' It's going to be at Notre Dame."
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
C O M M I T T E D
— JAY BRUNELLE¹ (@jabrunie) June 26, 2019
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) June 26, 2019