Recruiting notebook: Notre Dame makes top four for pair of 2022 defensive back targets

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Dillon Tatum’s recruitment might be Michigan’s to lose, but the four-star prospect hasn’t finalized his commitment yet.

Tatum, a junior running back and defensive back at West Bloomfield (Mich.) High, cut his list of favorites to four on Sunday with Notre Dame, Michigan State and Baylor joining the Wolverines.

The 5-foot-11, 188-pound Tatum may be destined to follow his former coach and teammates to Michigan. Soon after West Bloomfield won Michigan’s Division 1 state championship in January, head coach Ron Bellamy was named an assistant coach at Michigan.

Bellamy, a former Michigan wide receiver, became the safeties coach for a roster that contains three former West Bloomfield players, including freshman signee Donovan Edwards, a four-star running back the Irish also targeted in the 2021 class.

Notre Dame offered Tatum in May and initially pursued him as a running back prospect as well, but defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens started to focus on him as a defensive back target in recent months. Tatum reportedly has interest in playing defense in college, so the Irish may still have a fighting chance against Michigan.

Because of his ability to play multiple positions, both Rivals and 247Sports put him in the athlete category. 247Sports slates him as the No. 16 athlete in the 2022 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 18 athlete.

Burnham’s commitment date

Another recruiting battle that includes both Notre Dame and Michigan will be settled on St. Patrick’s Day. Four-star linebacker Joshua Burnham, a junior from Traverse City (Mich.) Central, plans to announce his commitment March 17.

The 6-4, 215-pound Burnham previously named Notre Dame, Michigan and Wisconsin as the finalists in his recruitment.

Burnham, who received a Notre Dame offer in June, does a little bit of everything as a quarterback and linebacker at Traverse City Central. He threw for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns, rushed for 903 yards and 18 touchdowns, and tallied 67 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and one interception in his junior season. Burnham’s highlight video on Hudl is 29 minutes long.

247Sports slates Burnham as the No. 6 outside linebacker and No. 85 overall in the 2022 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 141 overall.

Mickey’s top four

Before Jaden Mickey started his delayed junior season at Corona (Calif.) Centennial, the four-star cornerback cut his recruitment to four schools on Monday: Notre Dame, Oregon, California and Northwestern.

The Irish offered the 6-0, 175-pound Mickey, who attends the same school that produced former Notre Dame wide receiver Javon McKinley, last month.

As a sophomore, Mickey totaled 31 tackles, 11 pass breakups and six interceptions. 247Sports slates Mickey as the No. 27 cornerback in the 2022 class. Rivals ranks him No. 35 at the position.

California was one of several states to cancel its fall football season last year in favor of a shortened version early this year.

Gobaira’s hot start

Notre Dame defensive end commit Aiden Gobaira is already terrorizing opposing offenses in his condensed junior season.

In the first two games of a six-game schedule for Chantilly (Va.) High, Gobaira recorded seven tackles for a loss and four sacks.

The 6-6, 235-pound Gobaira committed to Notre Dame on Feb. 6 — a little more than two weeks before his first game as a junior. Sustained performances like those will likely result in a boost in his three-star rating.

247Sports slates Gobaira as the No 16 weakside defensive end in the 2022 class. Rivals ranks him No. 28 at the position.

Notre Dame football recruiting target Dillon Tatum included the Irish in his top four alongside Michigan, Michigan State and Baylor.