Three-star defensive back Jayden Bellamy commits to Notre Dame
Jayden Bellamy and Steve Angeli won’t have to describe each other as former teammates when they eventually enroll at the colleges of their choice.
That’s because both of the Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic standouts have verbally committed to play football at Notre Dame.
Angeli, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback, gave the Irish his pledge back in March. Bellamy, a 6-0, 175-pound defensive back, joined him in Notre Dame’s 2022 recruiting class on Friday night.
Bellamy picked the Irish from an offer list that also included the likes of Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma. Penn State and Rutgers were considered Bellamy’s two other finalists alongside Notre Dame in the end.
Bellamy, a three-star recruit, became the third prospect to commit to the Irish following a June official visit to Notre Dame’s campus. Four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka and three-star offensive lineman Ashton Craig made their decisions to join Notre Dame’s class before the end of June.
Recruiting analysts have projected Bellamy as a college cornerback, but he’s also played safety and wide receiver in high school in addition to cornerback. He caught three touchdown passes from Angeli last year in Bergen Catholic’s six-game season that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also returned an interception for a touchdown against rival Don Bosco Prep.
“He’s flexible and athletic enough to play corner,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “But he has the height and the size where he can grow into a safety.
“I think he’s better as a corner. He has the length and the athletic ability to become a standout at corner. He’s been coached well in high school, and he has the bloodlines.”
Bellamy’s father, Jay, played safety for 14 seasons in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints following a college career at Rutgers.
247Sports slates the younger Bellamy as the No. 34 cornerback in the 2022 class. Rivals ranks him No. 59 at the position.
“He’s about as humble of an elite-level player as I’ve ever been around,” Bergen Catholic coach Vito Campanile told the Bergen Record on Friday. “You never hear a word out of him. If it wasn’t for how productive he is, you wouldn’t even know he was there.
“He’s a great, humble kid, a great kid to coach — he’s incredibly coachable — and he works hard. He’s incredibly tough, he’s a good tackler, a good open-field tackler, and a big-play guy on offense.”
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and safeties coach Chris O’Leary will be asking Bellamy to prevent big plays. Whether he gets a first shot at cornerback or safety may depend on how the rest of Notre Dame’s recruiting class plays out.
The only other defensive back commitment in the Irish class belongs to four-star cornerback Jaden Mickey. Four more defensive backs who made official visits to Notre Dame last month remain possibilities for the Irish: safeties Xavier Nwankpa and Jake Pope, cornerback Benjamin Morrison and Devin Moore, who has position versatility like Bellamy.
Notre Dame’s class of 17 commitments remains ranked second in the country behind only Ohio State, according to both Rivals and 247Sports.
The last week of recruiting evened out Notre Dame’s hit rate to 50 percent on 2022 recruits who made official visits to South Bend as uncommitted targets in June. Of the 22 recruits who fell into that category, six of them have announced verbal commitments. Bellamy, Tuihalamaka and Craig picked Notre Dame. Running back Dallan Hayden (Ohio State), offensive lineman Joe Brunner (Wisconsin) and wide receiver Nicholas Anderson (Oregon) passed on the Irish.
More decisions are on the way. Four-star running back Nicholas Singleton, who is focused on Notre Dame, Alabama, Penn State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin, will announce his decision Tuesday evening. Pope, a four-star recruit per 247Sports, recently hinted at a decision coming soon from a top five of Notre Dame, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio State and Georgia.
Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.