Notre Dame wants and needs to upgrade its cornerback depth chart, which means landing the nation's best cover players. Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff cornerback Malik Muhammad absolutely fits that bill, which is why he is a major priority for Notre Dame. The Irish already have a commitment from Top 100 cornerback Justyn Rhett, but it would love to pair him with an elite player like Muhammad.
Muhammad is getting closer and closer to a decision, but he still has some things he wants to do.
“My timeline is getting closer,” Muhammad told Irish Breakdown. “I am going to make a few more unofficial visits, then I am going to commit. I do not want to commit out of emotion then decommit.”
It is easy to see why Notre Dame and so many other programs are making such a hard push for Muhammad. His film is outstanding, and he ranks as one of the nation's best defenders. A consensus Top 70 national recruit, Muhammad ranks No. 15 overall and as the No. 2 cornerback nationally by On3 and is a Top 50 recruit according to ESPN (No. 41).
His on-field talents should be of no surprise. Malik comes from a tremendous football family that includes his cousins E.J. Muhammad (Nevada), Jabar Muhammad (Oklahoma State), Khairi Muhammad (North Texas) and current Cleveland Browns cornerback A.J. Green (Oklahoma State).
Muhammad is fresh off a dominant junior campaign, where the 6-0, 170-pound cornerback totaled 68 total tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups for the 15-1 state championship South Oak Cliff Bears. Their 23-14 victory over Liberty Hill marked the first Dallas high school to win state in decades.
All the offers/attention can make the recruiting landscape for Muhammad blurry. So far, however, Notre Dame has left a strong impression.
“Man, Notre Dame is a great place, I think my fit would be terrific. I love their scheme and the way they play on defense," Muhammad explained.
Muhammad could picture his role in the defense - applauding the state of Notre Dame football under head coach Marcus Freeman. He was even more excited about what the future might hold.
“When Coach Freeman gets a few classes in, I think he will put his stamp on the program," Muhammad stated. "The coaches are great, Coach (Chad) Bowden, Coach Freeman and Coach (Mike) Mickens have been supportive throughout the entire process - and that means a lot to me. All of the coaches have been tremendous. I keep in touch with pretty much the entire defensive staff."
Building the program and relationship with Muhammad has been exciting to watch thus far. Freeman, of course, will be a main cog in this recruitment, but from the sounds of it, it has been a collaborative effort for the talented Texas defensive back.
While extremely complimentary of Coach Freeman’s impact on the program, Muhammad does want to see the tangible results. If his recruitment does bleed into the season, the on field results could be a huge opportunity to capture Muhammad’s full attention.
“Coach Freeman was a great hire," the standout cornerback said. "I just want to see how things play out on the field because you can see he's a heck of a recruiter. He has brought in some great talent already.”
A key piece to recruiting at Notre Dame is getting these recruits on campus. For a program synonymous with tradition and environment, seeing the game day culture can not be undersold. You can hear about the Grotto, the Basilica and Touchdown Jesus all you want. Seeing it is much different - something that Muhammad has already done before, and plans to do again.
“I have been on campus once and I plan to go back again very soon.”
A return to campus is huge for this recruitment. One thing is certain - it is not going to be an easy pull. With programs like Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Miami, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and USC all hot on the trail, Notre Dame will need to be ready to compete.
So far, Notre Dame is very much in this. The next couple months will tell the story.
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