Notre Dame gets the letters: Cornerbacks Landen Bartleson and Clarence Lewis
Boyle County High School; Danville, Ky.
Measurements: 6'1”, 190 lbs.Accolades: A consensus three-star prospect and the No. 39 defensive back in the class, per rivals.com
Other Notable Offers: Bartleson may be a mere three-star recruit, but he still held offers from Big Ten powers Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin, not to mention homestate up-and-comers Kentucky and Louisville.
Projected Position: Cornerback, where he will be needed.
Quick Take: Three-star cornerbacks have turned into All-Americans before (see: Love, Julian), but assuming that of any single prospect is quite a leap. Hoping one of a handful of such recruits develops, however, is a veritable shotgun approach.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Presuming the NCAA approves Shaun Crawford’s appeal for a sixth year of eligibility, which should be the most clear-cut waiver case in years, then the Irish will have at least Crawford and then-junior TaRiq Bracy to lean upon next season, the former a playmaker when healthy and the latter offering only tantalizing glimpses thus far.
One presumes current sophomore Houston Griffith will handle nickel back duties, but it could be Bartleson or another younger cornerback. Bartleson will at least have an advantage as an early enrollee.
Bartleson’s 4.6-speed does not demand immediate playing time.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Notre Dame is playing a dangerous game at cornerback, where recruiting has fallen short for years. The Julian Love-Troy Pride tandem in the class of 2016 panned out well, but since then, the Irish have struck out.
Bartleson may become a solid player, but it will take time and development. He should, however, have plenty of chances to prove himself given the relative dearth of promising stars ahead of him.
Mater Dei High School; Middletown, N.J.
Measurements: 6'0”, 180 lbs.Accolades: A consensus three-star prospect and the No. 82 defensive back in the class, per rivals.com
Other Notable Offers: As tends to be the case with worthwhile prospects from the Northeast, nearly every worthwhile football program in the area chased Lewis, including Temple, Rutgers and Boston College. To offer some geographic diversity, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia all pursued him, as did Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue.
Projected Position: Cornerback, where he will be needed, just as Bartleson will be.
Quick Take: Lewis’ recruiting rankings do not necessarily properly reflect his agility, at the least. Cornerbacks are at their best when able to shift with a route, and Lewis has that innate ability. Even more than that, that shiftiness works in his favor when he picks off passes, returning four interceptions for scores in the last two seasons.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Much of what was written regarding Bartleson in 2020 applies to Lewis, as well, if not more so. His work in close spaces could be applicable at nickel back from the outset.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: A shotgun approach is far from preferable at a position as crucial at cornerback, or at any position, frankly, but if one of this year’s cornerback signees develops into a strong-quality starter, then the recruiting tactic will have proven a savvy one, if frustrating, nonetheless.