Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Four-Star Cornerback Benjamin Morrison Commits To Fighting Irish
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Four-Star Cornerback Benjamin Morrison Commits To Notre Dame Football

Cornerback is a key position for Notre Dame in the 2022 class, with head coach Brian Kelly and Co. looking to improve on the outside to compete with the high-flying passing attacks from Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and other powerhouse programs.

The Fighting Irish’s latest recruiting win should help them do just that.

Phoenix Brophy Prep cornerback Benjamin Morrison has committed to Notre Dame, announcing his decision Thursday.

“I think something special is happening at Notre Dame, and I want to be a part of it,” he told BlueandGold.com before making his decision public.

He took unofficial visits to Alabama and Auburn during the first week of June and saw Notre Dame for an official visit June 11-13. He visited Oregon and Washington to round out the month of June. Morrison decided between a final three of Alabama, Notre Dame and Washington.

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“Washington was my dream school growing up,” Morrison said. “It came down to those three schools — Washington, Alabama and Notre Dame. I went to see all three, and they had their pros and cons.

“After those visits, I went with my gut, and Notre Dame felt special to me. I’m excited to be a part of what they’re doing with Coach [Marcus] Freeman and the recruiting class.”

Morrison was considered a Notre Dame lean for much of his recruitment until Washington surged late in June and many pundits believed he would choose the Huskies. However, the Irish rallied and swung things back into their favor ahead of his mid-July announcement.

“The Notre Dame staff was very patient,” Morrison explained. “It did come to a point where I was about to go to Washington, but I let my emotions settle. I had a week to debrief, and there’s something that I kept going back to about Notre Dame.

“I went with my gut, it was Notre Dame, and I’m very happy with my decision.”

Notre Dame had a certain “it” factor that helped it separate from his other finalists.

“It’s the brotherhood,” Morrison added. “They’re unselfish. It’s competitive, but it’s more ‘I’ve got your back.’ And I respect that. Everyone wants you to be your best on and off the field, and that’s something that stood out to me.”

Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and special teams coordinator Brian Polian helped lead the charge for the Fighting Irish to win the recruitment.

“Polian tells you the truth and everything is straight up honesty with him,” Morrison said. “My dad had a great analogy about Coach Mickens. The more you’re with him, the more you gravitate to him and connect with him. He’s so genuine.”

One thing that is important to both Morrison and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is their big families.

Morrison’s father, Darryl, was a defensive back for the Washington Redskins (1993-96). He played his college ball at Arizona and was a member of the “Desert Swarm” defense that memorably held No. 1 Washington to just three points in 1992.

Darryl currently serves as the lead pastor of Valley Gate Church in Tempe, Ariz., and his wife, JoAnn, leads the church’s women’s ministry.

Three of Benjamin’s sisters have played various sports at the Division I level. Naomi is currently a gymnast for Michigan, Grace finished her fourth season with Appalachian State volleyball team, and Faith was a gymnast for Washington from 2014-16.

Morrison’s brother, Sam, played cornerback at Arizona (2015-18) and San Diego State (2019).

Morrison is one of five siblings, and Freeman has six kids of his own. During Morrison’s official visit, he saw how Freeman treated his children in big-family settings that Morrison is familiar with. That clicked as well.

“Coach Freeman was a deal closer,” Morrison stated. “He’s everything I’ve wanted in a defensive coordinator. He’s a great guy, and how he acts around his family was big to me — how he spent time with them and talked to them.

“Seeing how he interacts with his family made the decision easier for me.”

Notre Dame’s first defensive back pledge in the 2022 class was Corona (Calif.) Centennial’s Jaden Mickey back in March. Notre Dame didn’t land secondary commitment No. 2 until Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic’s Jayden Bellamy announced his decision July 2, and two days later, Naples (Fla.) High’s Devin Moore made his commitment. Moore and Morrison visited Notre Dame together during the June 11-13 official visit weekend.

“Realistically, you’re going to bring in two to four defensive backs in a class, and I’m excited about this group,” Morrison said. “Iron sharpens iron; I’m only going to grow with these guys around me. It’s only going to make us all better.”

Morrison will enroll at Notre Dame next summer and is completely locked in with his Irish pledge.

“I’m set in stone with Notre Dame,” he said. “I’m not going to take any other visits.”

Rivals ranks Morrison as a four-star recruit, the No. 4 player in Arizona and the No. 30 cornerback in the country.

Morrison, who could play field or boundary cornerback for the Irish, held more than 20 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA and Washington.

During the 2020 season, Morrison recorded 36 tackles, three tackles for loss, one pass defended and two blocked field goals in five games played. He also added six receptions for 83 yards.

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