Last month, Notre Dame picked up its first cornerback commitment of the 2022 class when Corona (Calif.) Centennial four-star Jaden Mickey announced in favor of the Fighting Irish on March 14. At the moment, Notre Dame is looking at taking at least two corners in this cycle, and three if the right players want to join the class. Apopka (Fla.) corner Nikai Martinez is one of those players, and he's working on setting up a visit to Notre Dame.
“I don't have a [commitment] date picked out, but I'm looking to start scheduling my official visits soon,” Hamilton told Irish Breakdown.
Right now, Martinez said he intends to officially visit Notre Dame, Clemson, Penn State and South Carolina and will have dates for those visits soon. And in terms of his contact with the Fighting Irish, Martinez said that both defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens are feeding him information and facts about the program.
“They're cool dudes, cool coaches,” Martinez said of the pair. “They know what they're talking about, so I feel like I would have a good advantage going there and getting knowledge from them.
“Basically they're like why not? Why not them," continued Martinez. "They have the best of both worlds academically and athletically, so they feel like they have a chance to help me get better prepared for the next level and after football.”
At this point, Martinez already has a pretty good feel for South Bend after taking an unofficial visit in 2019 for the Fighting Irish's 21-20 victory over the Hokies.
“I went there my tenth grade year,” Martinez recalled. “I was on campus and saw the game when they played Virginia Tech. They won, and I feel like it was a good vibe. There was a great crowd atmosphere. It was very traditional, and everything was very nice about it. It's cool.”
With Notre Dame pitching both success on and off the football field to Martinez, that matches up with some factors that will most heavily influence the four-star's college decision.
“Really, a family and brotherhood, coaches with good reputation, a good history of sending people to the league especially at my position, good academically and a school that is going to help develop me for life after football,” Martinez detailed of his criteria.
Standing at 5-11 and 175 pounds, Martinez posted 40 tackles, eight pass breakups and four interceptions in what was an 8-4 junior campaign. So while it is evident that the Notre Dame target experienced success last year, the driven corner is working hard on his off-man and press-man coverage skills over the offseason.
Look for June as a potential timeframe for Martinez's Notre Dame official visit since that is when the recruiting dead period finally ends. It is shaping up to be a very important month for the Fighting Irish as several top targets have already announced their intentions to visit South Bend.
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