Four-star cornerback Benjamin Morrison commits to Notre Dame over Washington, Alabama
Notre Dame’s defensive recruiting momentum refuses to die.
The commitment wave continued Thursday when four-star cornerback Benjamin Morrison announced his pledge to the Irish. The rising senior at Phoenix Brophy Prep became the seventh defensive recruit in the 2022 and 2023 classes to commit to Notre Dame since the start of June.
The 6-foot, 172-pound Morrison chose Notre Dame after weighing his options with visits last month. He made unofficial visits to Alabama and Auburn then made official visits to Notre Dame, Oregon and Washington.
Rivals ranks Morrison as the No. 30 cornerback in the 2022 class. 247Sports slates him No. 31 at the position.
“He’s physical for his size and can play cover corner,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s very flexible. He has quick-twitch athletic ability. He’s a smart kid, has a good understanding for the game and is a leader. He seems to anticipate plays very well.”
The Morrison family is full of college athletes. Morrison’s father, Darryl, played football in college at Arizona and in the NFL at Washington. His oldest sister, Faith, was a gymnast at Washington. His older brother, Sammy, played football at Arizona and San Diego State. Volleyball was the sport of choice for his other older sisters, Grace and Naomi, at Appalachian State and Michigan, respectively.
In committing to Notre Dame, Morrison joined an increasingly full secondary. Four-star cornerback Jaden Mickey was the first to join the class in March. Then Jayden Bellamy and Devin Moore, who could both play either cornerback or safety, committed to the Irish last month.
Bellamy is the only one of the group to not receive a four-star rating from either Rivals or 247Sports. Rivals rates Moore as a four-star cornerback, but 247Sports slates him as a three-star safety. Mickey owns the highest ranking from either recruiting site as the No. 23 cornerback.
“These are all very good players,” Lemming said. “It’s not quite as good as the linebacker group, but it’s not that far behind.”
Second-year cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and first-year safeties coach Chris O’Leary needed to add quality and quantity to Notre Dame’s secondary. It’s something the Irish have struggled to do with consistency during head coach Brian Kelly’s tenure.
Of the 12 completed recruiting classes under Kelly, four of them included three or more defensive backs rated by Rivals with at least a four-star rating. Four more classes had no more than one defensive back rated by Rivals with a four-star rating or better.
The Irish currently have three defensive backs committed to the 2022 class rated as four-star recruits by Rivals: Morrison, Mickey and Moore.
Special teams coordinator Brian Polian helped Mickens in landing Morrison for the Irish. Polian’s involvement started early in the process when he was still Notre Dame’s recruiting coordinator. He remained a contact for the Morrison family throughout his recruitment.
Polian, Notre Dame's ace recruiter on the West Coast, also played a leading role in securing Mickey's commitment earlier this year.
“Mickens and Polian did an excellent job on Morrison,” Lemming said. “When I saw (Morrison) in the spring, he was talking about those guys. Notre Dame had already been an influence on him.”
The Irish have closed on more of their official visitors in June than they’ve missed. Morrison was the sixth uncommitted official visitor to pledge to the Irish following linebackers Junior Tuihalamaka and Jaylen Sneed, defensive backs Jayden Bellamy and Devin Moore and offensive lineman Ashton Craig.
Five recruits who made official visits to Notre Dame in June have since committed elsewhere: wide receiver Nicholas Anderson (Oregon), offensive linemen Joe Brunner (Wisconsin) and Jake Taylor (Oklahoma), and running backs Dallan Hayden (Ohio State) and Nicholas Singleton (Penn State).
Eleven official visitors, including safeties Xavier Nwankpa and Jake Pope, have not yet announced their decisions.
The Irish experienced a hiccup earlier this week when three-star defensive end Darren Agu ditched his commitment to the Irish on Sunday and later committed to Vanderbilt. But Notre Dame's class of 19 commitments still ranks second in the country behind Ohio State, according to both Rivals and 247Sports.
Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.