While Notre Dame took an opportunity to forge new relationships with class of 2023 prospects across the country, the Fighting Irish also used the Pot of Gold unveiling as a chance to strengthen and foster bonds they've already started. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy linebacker Malik Bryant falls into the latter category, and he tweeted out the special Pot of Golf graphic last week, but Bryant already earned an offer from the Irish.
Last measured at 6-3 and 230 pounds, Bryant is one of the top outside linebackers in the country and is listed at No. 2 at the position and No. 57 overall by 247Sports.com. With that kind of billing, Bryant totes nearly 30 offers with schools such as Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida.
As it pertains to Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish extended a scholarship to the four-star recruit on Feb. 23, and he's quickly become a big target for the coaching staff. In particular, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman has been the point man for this recruitment, and he's working on showing Bryant what a future in South Bend could look like.
“That relationship is going pretty good right now,” Bryant told Irish Breakdown. “[Coach Freeman] has been telling me all good things about Notre Dame and their education. He talks about their business program and what made him choose Notre Dame. That relationship with him is going well right now.”
Bryant mentioned that he still has a lot more to learn about ND, which is precisely why he is looking to visit campus soon on a recruiting swing that will feature a lot of stops.
“Notre Dame is a school I want to get up to,” Bryant said. “I was talking to Coach Freeman about that. I definitely plan on going to Georgia, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State and probably Alabama as well. All of those schools have a very well-developed program. They know what they're doing. They fit all of my boxes. All those schools check every last one of my boxes, so I feel like those schools can help me develop my game to the next level. It would be very good for my craft.”
In the past, Bryant has been on campus at Florida for a game last Fall and has seen both Miami and Georgia Tech, so he has checked out a couple schools that are interested, but his recruitment has continued to blow up since that time due to his on-field performance.
On that note, Bryant served as one of IMG Academy's key defenders a year ago in what was a National Championship-winning season for the Ascenders. IMG is perennially one of the top high school programs in the country, and Bryant chipped in with 52 tackles and nine sacks as a key presence along the edge. Bryant's pass rushing acumen is what has schools like Notre Dame in hot pursuit.
“As far as the offseason, I've been putting in a lot of work on and off the field,” Bryant added. “I'm in the classroom, I've been going to therapy, strengthening my mind and my wisdom. On the field, I've been working on my speed and strength. I've been working on my first step a lot, more pass rush moves and I've been working on a counter move.”
IMG is home to several prospects that Notre Dame is pursuing, such as 2022 offensive lineman Tyler Booker, 2023 wide receiver Carnell Tate, 2023 defensive end Samuel M'Pemba, 2023 cornerback Malik Muhammed and athlete 2023 . Notre Dame has landed three IMG players in the past (Tony Jones Jr., Robert Hainsey, Houston Griffith), and the staff is working hard to add more in both the 2022 and 2023 classes.
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