Right now, Notre Dame boasts a top five recruiting class with 10 commits for the 2022 cycle according to 247Sports.com, and it is no secret that the Fighting Irish are looking to land two running backs prior to National Signing Day. Notre Dame already holds a pledge from Denison (Texas) High School star Jadarian Price, but the coaching staff is aggressively recruiting other prospects at the position.
One player the program has tabbed as an important target is Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward Academy running back Damari Alston, a versatile 5-11, 205-pounder that has both breakaway speed and the ability to fight through tackles.
During the 2020 season, Alston logged 1,943 all-purpose yards and 27 total touchdowns for the War Eagles, and he was a factor in the team's return game as well. That type of production has helped separate Alston from a class full of quality running backs, so his weekly contact with the Fighting Irish staff should not come as a surprise.
“Coach [Lance] Taylor, Coach [Brian] Kelly are keeping in contact with me the most,” Alston told Irish Breakdown. “They just tell me that I'm a big priority for the team. They want me to know that my college decision is a 40-year decision, and Notre Dame can give me both the academics and the athletics.”
At the moment, Alston is considering majoring in Business, and the tag team approach from Taylor and Kelly has helped the Woodward star recognize that a future at Notre Dame could set him up for success both on and off the gridiron. In fact, Alston had an opportunity to check out the Notre Dame program firsthand during his sophomore year in 2019.
“They played Navy, which is one of the bigger games for them,” Alston recalled. “It was pretty intense. The fans are crazy, and like I said the energy was crazy. I loved the vibe up there. The campus is beautiful. The coaches were cool. I just want to get back up and see it again because it was so long ago.
“I liked it up there,” Alston continued. “The energy was good. I feel like, as of right now, it's one of the teams that is topping my list as long as me and the coaches keep that same relationship throughout.”
As a result of his on-field prowess, Alston has accumulated a whopping 54 offers up to this point, so Notre Dame is one of many programs vying for the Georgia recruit's commitment. With so many schools in pursuit, Alston said it is difficult to truly know which programs he likes the most without the visit component due to the dead period,. However, Alston is trying to do his research and plans to release a top group soon, and he said that Notre Dame is very likely to make the cut.
“I'm thinking soon,” Alston stated. “I'm trying to do my research, talking to all the coaches I'm interested in. I'm probably going to get it down to 10 or eight or even six so I know what schools I want to go to when everything opens back up.”
Alston also named a list of schools that he would like to visit before making his commitment, and that grouping includes Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Northwestern, Auburn, Penn State and Miami with a pledge likely coming during the Summer before his senior season kicks off.
The potential addition of Alston to Notre Dame's 2022 recruiting class would give the Fighting Irish two talented runners, a quarterback in Steve Angeli that is looking like a proverbial leader of the class, a pair of four-start offensive tackles (Ty Chan and Joey Tanona), a highly coveted tight end (Jack Nickel) and a wideout that will help spread the ball around (Amorion Walker) among the school's double-digit commits.
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