Four-star CB Justyn Rhett commits to Notre Dame football's 2023 recruiting class
Notre Dame football hasn’t successfully tapped into its pipeline from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman in quite some time.
The high school that sent offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley, tight end Alize Mack and safety Nicco Fertitta to Notre Dame during head coach Brian Kelly’s tenure hasn’t produced an Irish recruit since the 2015 class.
That drought should end in the 2023 class. Four-star cornerback Justyn Rhett, a junior at Bishop Gorman, announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame live on CBS Sports HQ on Saturday night.
"The first day I approached the campus, it was a special feeling I had about it," Rhett told CBS Sports HQ of his Notre Dame decision. "It was only a matter of time until I got to build the relationships with the coaches that I have today for me to be ready to commit somewhere. I know that Notre Dame is the right place for me."
All three Bishop Gorman products that played for Kelly put together productive careers. Stanley, a 2012 recruit, was selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Mack, a 2015 recruit, was picked in the seventh round of the 2019 draft by the New Orleans Saints. Fertitta, also a 2015 recruit, didn’t land in the NFL, but he totaled 40 tackles in 45 games across four seasons for the Irish as a backup safety and special teams standout.
Now Rhett plays for Fertitta, who was hired as Bishop Gorman’s defensive backs coach before the 2020 season, and currently owns a higher overall Rivals ranking than all three former Bishop Gorman-Notre Dame products. Rivals ranks Rhett as the No. 2 cornerback and No. 50 overall in the 2023 class. Stanley finished the 2012 class ranked No. 176 overall. Mack ended up at No. 133 overall in the 2015 class. Fertitta, a three-star recruit, landed outside of the top 250.
► Notre Dame football recruiting: Updated list of Irish commits in 2022 and 2023 classes
247Sports isn’t quite as high on Rhett. The recruiting site also slates him as a four-star recruit but pegs him as the No. 22 cornerback and No. 239 overall. Regardless of where Rhett finishes in the rankings from both sites come February 2023, the Irish should be pleased with the recruiting victory.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Rhett picked Notre Dame from a top five that included Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Rhett camped at Notre Dame in June when he received an offer from the Irish and returned in October to watch Notre Dame beat USC.
“I like him a lot,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He can run. He can hit. He plays great competition. He’s playing corner, and he’s a thick corner. You like that physicality at corner, and he’s confident.”
“Justyn Rhett’s a big catch for them. He’s an outstanding player.”
Bishop Gorman tends to have a few outstanding players. In the 2022 and 2023 classes alone, Bishop Gorman has six four-star recruits and five three-star recruits, according for Rivals. Maybe the pledge from Rhett will give new head coach Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame some momentum recruiting at the program. The Irish pursued four-star defensive end Cyrus Moss in the 2022 class, but he’s projected to sign elsewhere.
Rhett’s commitment to Notre Dame momentarily shifted the spotlight to the 2023 recruiting class four days before the three-day early signing period commences for the 2022 class.
Many of Notre Dame's 2022 commits spent Saturday on campus, but so did a pair of 2023 targets: four-star quarterback Christopher Vizzina from Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian and four-star cornerback Christian Gray from St. Louis DeSmet.
All seven verbal commitments in Notre Dame’s 2023 class have received four-star ratings from both Rivals and 247Sports. The addition of Rhett pushed the Irish class to first in the country on Rivals. 247Sports slates the seven-recruit class No. 2 behind Georgia.
Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.