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What's Next: Notre Dame Still Has Work To Do At Wide Receiver

Notre Dame still has plenty of work to do at wide receiver after landing Rico Flores Jr.

Notre Dame entered the 2023 recruiting cycle in desperate need of big numbers and impact talent at wide receiver. Misses in past seasons and the inability to keep the group together in recent seasons put the new staff in a tough spot with this class.

Led by position coach Chansi Stuckey, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and director of recruiting Chad Bowden, Notre Dame is off to a strong start after landing Texas standout Braylon James back in April and California pass catcher Rico Flores Jr. yesterday.

Despite that start the Irish staff still has plenty of work to do to close this class out in proper fashion. 

Notre Dame needs two more receivers simply to meet its numbers objectives, but numbers aren't enough in this class. With just four scholarship players set to return to the roster in 2023, Notre Dame needs players that can play early, and be impact players.

There are two players on the board that fit this standard, and Notre Dame needs to land both of them.

JADEN GREATHOUSE

There are very few high school receivers that have the career production that Greathouse brings to the table. The Austin (Texas) Westlake star already has 182 career catches for 3,134 yards (17.2 YPC) and 43 touchdowns. He's racked up over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons and he hauled in 20 touchdowns as a junior for the state champion Chaparrals.

Notre Dame has made his list of final schools, along with Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina. He visited South Bend for the first time for the Blue-Gold Game and made his official visit the weekend of June 17-19.

At 6-2 and 210 pounds with a very polished and mature game, Greathouse might have the highest floor on the board for Notre Dame. He's the kind of physical player that can work into the rotation immediately, and Greathouse's game fits multiple positions in the Irish offense.

Landing Greathouse is a must-get, and Notre Dame has put itself in great position. He has stated that his intention is to wait until the fall to make a decision, but Irish Breakdown has felt for some time that Notre Dame is the one school that could cause Greathouse to expedite his plans and announce this summer.

RONAN HANAFIN

There isn't a more intriguing skill player on the board than Hanafin, who could be an impact starter at wide receiver, safety, rover and possibly even linebacker. For a time it seemed as though Hanafin was poised for defense, but things changed and he became a wide receiver target.

That was very, very important for the Irish, as a case could be made that Hanafin has as high of a ceiling as any receiver in the class for the Irish. He's the opposite of Greathouse and Flores in that he's still quite raw as a wide receiver, and his technical game needs a ton of work, but the physical gifts are outstanding.

Hanafin is an elite athlete with impressive explosiveness, and he shows strong hands and ball skills when given the opportunity. The 6-3, 205-pound athlete will need to learn the nuances of the position, but he should be able to pick things up quickly.

Notre Dame is in pole position with Hanafin, but Alabama and especially Clemson have made this one much more difficult for the Irish. This is one Notre Dame absolutely needs to finish off, as Hanafin has the kind of dynamic, high-ceiling skillset the Irish desperately need more of in the class.

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HOW THEY FIT

One thing I love about both Hanafin and Greathouse is their versatility on offense. Both can play in the boundary, both can play the field spot and both bring value in the slot. The same is true for Flores (who can can play field and slot) and James (who can play both outside spots).

Having wide receivers that can play multiple positions is vital to getting this group onto the field early, and also being able to get all of them into the same rotation. They have plenty of traits in common (ball skills, athleticism, size) but their unique tools means they can attack defenses differently, which would make a receiving corps built of these four players very hard to defend.

Notre Dame is halfway there, but the staff must now close on the final two prospects. If they can this will be without question a gap closing group of pass catchers, which is exactly what the Fighting Irish offense needs.

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