Notre Dame picked up a major commitment today when it landed St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet Jesuit cornerback Christian Gray. Notre Dame beat out LSU, Ohio State and Southern Cal to land this Top 100 cornerback.
Let's take a look at how landing Gray impacts the Notre Dame class and the Irish depth chart.
NOTRE DAME CLASS IMPACT
Gray is the 19th player to commit to Notre Dame in the 2023 class. He is the 10th defensive player to pledge to the Fighting Irish and he is the second cornerback, joining Houston (Texas) Kinkaid standout Micah Bell.
Corners coach Mike Mickens has done a good job rebuilding the cornerback depth chart with his first two classes, which meant Notre Dame came into the 2023 cycle focused more on impact talent than numbers.
Landing Gray right after picking up Bell gives the Irish just that, impact talent. Notre Dame met its numbers need of two corners and both are talented cover men with the potential to be dynamic players in an Irish uniform.
Gray and Bell are both ranked as Top 100 recruits by at least one recruiting service. Gray is ranked as the nation's No. 51 overall player according to Rivals. Landing both Gray and Bell means the Irish have landed a pair of Top 100 corners in the same class for the first time since 2006 (Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil).
NOTRE DAME FIT
The first thing that stood out to me when breaking down Gray was his length. He's listed between 6-0 and 6-1, but even more importantly he has very long arms. That length is something teams covet at cornerback, and Gray knows how to use that to his advantage.
Gray is a smooth and fluid athlete with exceptional balance. Despite having long legs, Gray is able to change direction with ease, possessing top-notch foot quickness and change of direction ability. His transitions are clean, but Gray does need to work on accelerating a bit quicker once he turns to run.
This is one of the more fundamentally sound cornerbacks in the class. His footwork is efficient, he knows how to use his hands and his route recognition is top notch. Gray thrives in both man and zone coverage. His length and athleticism are ideal fits for press coverage, which makes him a strong fit in the boundary position. He's also a high football IQ player that does a great job reading quarterbacks and his route recognition is excellent.
Gray does an excellent job breaking on routes and beating receivers to the point of attack. His combination of length, athleticism and instincts allow Gray to get his hands on a lot of passes.
Gray has been timed at camps with 4.42 speed, but that doesn't always show on film. If he can show that more consistently his game will explode and he'll tap into his full potential.
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