Safety Fertitta commits to Notre Dame

BOB WIENEKE
South Bend Tribune

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming's assessment of Nicco Fertitta includes describing the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman safety as having a high football IQ, being a sure tackler and owning a 40-yard dash time consistently in the 4.5-second range.

Playing at a powerhouse school also jumped out to the CBS Sports Network analyst.

"He makes a lot of big plays against great competition," Lemming said, "which is big."

Fertitta could some day be making more big plays against even bigger competition after committing to Notre Dame on Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Fertitta made the commitment while on an unofficial visit to campus. 247Sports.com first reported the news.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Fertitta, who could not be reached for comment Saturday night, registered 47 tackles, 3 1/2 tackles for loss, five pass deflections and one interception for Bishop Gorman, a Nevada state power.

"He's from one of the top high school programs in the country," said 247Sports national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong.

Landing Fertitta, according to Lemming, could help the Irish with a pair of his teammates. Tight end Alize Jones, a UCLA commit, is a top-100 player and one of the top three tight ends in the country. Another teammate, wide receiver Cordell Broadus, is also an Irish target.

"Nicco is kind of the leader of the team," Lemming said, "and could help sway the other two."

Fertitta, whose father Lorenzo is the CEO and co-founder of Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the sixth high school junior to commit to Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2015. He joins quarterback Blake Barnett, offensive linemen Tristen Hoge and Jerry Tillery, wide receiver Jalen Guyton and defensive back Prentice McKinney.

Fertitta, considered a three-star recruit, ranks as the No. 31 safety prospect by Rivals.com and the No. 56 safety by 247. According to Rivals, Fertitta also had offers from Arizona, Boston College, Hawaii, Houston, Indiana, UNLV and Utah.

"That's a good catch for Notre Dame," Lemming said. "What I liked about him, he seems to know where the ball is going before the offense. He's a sure tackler, fundamentally sound and he's consistently run in the 4.5s."

Lemming also sees Fertitta as potential strong influence in the Irish locker room.

"He'll be a guy that I think will be a leader on the team in a couple years," Lemming said.

Fertitta was offered by Notre Dame while on an unofficial visit in January. This weekend's trip to Notre Dame was his third.

"When Notre Dame went on him," Wiltfong said, "it was more a matter of when, not if."

More offers

A pair of 2015 recruits received offers on Saturday during unofficial visits at Notre Dame.

Linebacker Asmar Bilal of Indianapolis Ben Davis and offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland of Cary, Ill., both added the Irish to their list of scholarship options.

Bilal, whose offer was reported by the Ben Davis football account on Twitter, ranks as one of the top in-state prospects and only the second to receive a Notre Dame offer in the 2015 recruiting class.

247Sports slates the 6-foot-3, 201-pound Bilal as the No. 2 prospect in Indiana, the No. 3 inside linebacker in the country and No. 172 regardless of position as a four-star prospect. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect, the No. 3 recruit in the state and the No. 27 outside linebacker in the country. Bilal also added offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska in the past month.

Ruhland confirmed his offer with the Tribune. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman returned to Notre Dame for his second visit this spring. He previously visited for junior day in March.

A three-star prospect, Ruhland ranks as the No. 4 prospect in Illinois and the No. 35 offensive tackle according to Rivals. 247Sports slates him as the 14th-best player in his state and the No. 43 offensive guard.

Ruhland holds offers from Northwestern, Kentucky, California and Connecticut, among several others.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly picked up a verbal commitment Saturday. (SBT Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES)