Notre Dame's red hot recruiting continued today as the Irish landed Folsom (Calif.) High School wide receiver Rico Flores Jr., who chose Notre Dame over Ohio State and Georgia.
Let's take a look at how the pickup of Flores impacts the Notre Dame 2023 recruiting class and the Fighting Irish depth chart.
NOTRE DAME CLASS IMPACT
Flores is the 18th player to commit to Notre Dame in the 2023 class. He is the ninth offensive player to join the Irish and he joins Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point star Braylon James as wide receivers in the Notre Dame class.
Notre Dame doesn't have a single wide receiver on the roster from the 2019 or 2020 classes, and the Irish signed just one player (Tobias Merriweather) in the 2022 class. Those recruiting and retention struggles mean the Irish will have just four scholarship receivers returning to the roster in 2023.
That puts first-year receivers coach Chansi Stuckey in position where he needs numbers and impact talent. Notre Dame also needs wideouts that can come in and play early.
Flores might not be the highest ranked wideout on the board, but he checks a lot of very important boxes. Obviously, landing Flores to go with James gives the Irish a second wide receiver in the class, so Notre Dame is now halfway to its ideal numbers goal of four wideouts.
Flores is a versatile pass catcher that can fit into several different roles in the Irish offense. He also has a mature game and shows an incredibly high football IQ, which means Flores has the tools to push for action very early in his career.
NOTRE DAME FIT
The 6-1, 190-pound receiver is one of the most polished receivers in this class. He's clean off the line, which allows him to maximize his speed. Even as a junior he showed a great feel for using his stem to get into proper leverage and he does a great job using his body at the top of end of routes to manipulate defenders. Flores also shows an impressive ability to adjust his speed when it's needed to set a defender up.
Flores doesn't have any athletic traits that are elite, but he's a quality all-around athlete, which combines nicely with his technical prowess to make him highly effective. He has impressive balance and agility, and he shows much-needed flexibility. Each of these traits combine together to make Flores a strong route runner. His ability to get off the line quickly and his precision as a route runner allows Flores to maximize his speed and makes him a big play threat.
The Folsom standout shows a great feel for getting open. Not only is he able to use his route technique and quickness to get good separation out of breaks, Flores shows a great feel for finding soft spots in the defense when he is working against zone coverages.
Flores tracks the deep ball extremely well. He's strong at the catch point, he has strong hands and he attacks the football when it's in the air. His catch radius is above average, but his hand speed and strength allows him to make tough catches.
Flores brings a unique fit into the Notre Dame offense. His ideal fit is as an X receiver, but he could fit into the boundary (W) spot as well and the way Tommy Rees runs his offense I could see Flores thriving in the slot (Z) as well. That versatility makes this an even bigger pickup for Notre Dame.
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