Notre Dame gets the letter: Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
Bolingbrook High School; Bolingbrook, Ill.
Measurements: 6’2, 185 lbs.Accolades: The consensus three-star recruit is the No. 8 prospect in Illinois, per rivals.com, and the No. 36 safety in the class of 2021.
Other Notable Offers: Walters in February, choosing Notre Dame over 10 Big Ten schools (no, that’s not all the Big Ten, numbers and words are meaningless). When he did so, Walters expected another safety to join him in the Irish class.
“Coach [Terry] Joseph told me that he’s only taking two safeties in the class, and when two safeties do commit, they’re 100 percent committed to them and won’t recruit any more safeties,” Walters told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “So I thought I might as well jump on that opportunity and take that spot while I can and be done with it.”
Projected Position: Instead, Walters is the only true safety in the 2021 cycle, though a couple of the signed cornerbacks could join him on the backline.
Quick Take: Walters’ physical playing style and fundamental tackling form should give him a high floor to work from. Both his recruiting rankings and overall evaluations would be better filled out if 2020 had included more camps, etc., but the fact that the Irish pursued him so aggressively so quickly should speak volumes on what the coaching staff thinks of Walters.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Walters may not start in 2021, but Notre Dame will need backup safeties to emerge, and as long as his fundamental tackling form stays true, that trust alone could push him into the rotation, trust he can certainly further as an early enrollee.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: When Kyle Hamilton heads to the NFL after 2021, the Irish will have cycled through their two current starters and completely into depths yet unproven. The opportunity will be there for Walters, though that may be a quick rise for him.
SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
— On Signing Day, remember Notre Dame’s surge has hinged on three-stars
— A Signing Day surprise: Four-star safety Khari Gee, flipped from LSU
— A Signing Day surprise: Consensus four-star RB Audric Estime, flipped from Michigan State
— Consensus four-star QB Tyler Buchner
— Trio of four-star WRs in Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas
— Five-star offensive tackle Blake Fisher and four-star guard Rocco Spindler
— Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie, the day’s greatest worry
— Hawaiian LB Kahanu Kia
— Cornerbacks Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes
— Three-star cornerbacks JoJo Johnson and Chance Tucker
— Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
— Tight ends Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans— Consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio— Pair of California defensive ends, Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
— Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
— Inexperienced defensive end Jason Onye
— Kicker Joshua Bryan