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Cornerback Recruiting Success Is Now All About Christian Gray

Notre Dame's ability to land a top-ranked cornerback class now comes down to landing Christian Gray

Closing the gap on the national championship programs demands that Notre Dame build up all of its position groups, but this is especially needed at positions where the Irish are furthest behind. A case could be made that no position on defense has a wider gap to close than cornerback. 

After a quality 2021 group and a strong 2022 haul, Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens entered the 2023 cycle in need of the kind of group that can truly turn the corner, so to speak, and close the gap at his position. His work has helped restore a roster that was largely broken when he arrived prior to the 2020 season.

It was a bit of a twisted journey, but Notre Dame finally got on the board in impressive fashion Friday when it landed speedy Texas athlete Micah Bell. A second impact cornerback is needed, however, and the Irish staff has put all of its focus on St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet Jesuit corner Christian Gray.

Gray's recruitment has been indicative of cornerback recruiting as a whole for the Irish. It's been a winding road that saw Notre Dame go from early leader to trailing multiple schools to now being in a seemingly strong position heading into his July 4th announcement.

No matter where things stood with Gray, Mickens stayed focused and on course, and the staff hopes it pays off on Monday.

Gray is ranked as the nation's No. 51 overall player and No. 8 cornerback according to Rivals, and he ranks as the No. 78 overall player and No. 7 cornerback on the On3 consensus ranking. Bell topped out as high as No. 55 overall according to 247Sports.

He heads into his July 4th decision with Notre Dame, LSU, Ohio State and USC his four finalists. At one point in time the Irish, Buckeyes and Tigers were all considered the leader in this recruitment. Notre Dame hopes to finish in the top spot, and that needs to be the case if the Irish are going to finally get cornerback recruiting heading in the direction it needs to close the gap.

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