football Edit

Notre Dame Moves To No. 1 In Rivals Recruiting Rankings

The addition of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei wide receiver CJ Williams on Sunday bumped Notre Dame from the No. 3 to No. 1 recruiting class in the country per Rivals.com.

Williams’ pledge gave Notre Dame 128 net points to its total per the Rivals formula, bumping it to a total of 2,386. However, the margin between the Fighting Irish at No. 1 and Ohio State at No. 3 is razor thin.

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The Buckeyes — despite having six less commitments than Notre Dame — are only 85 points behind the Irish. Adding a recruit with a 5.7 three-star ranking would give Ohio State 90 points, moving them past Notre Dame. It will be difficult for the Irish to hold the top spot for long.

Penn State is only 65 points behind Notre Dame, but with 24 commitments, their position in the class rankings feels more like a golfer who finished the 18th hole before others. Staying in the top five will be difficult for the Nittany Lions, let alone moving up to No. 1.

The same can probably be said for Notre Dame in terms of holding the top spot. Ohio State will likely finish with a higher ranked class. Notre Dame’s average star ranking per recruit of 3.76 is impressive; Ohio State’s 4.13 is astonishing. The Fighting Irish finishing in the top five seems like a realistic goal, though.

Notre Dame will likely finish ahead of Penn State, but it will be a battle for both programs to finish in the top five as the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma will surge. Those programs have less than 17 commitments at this point in the process.

The Irish are in the mix for more highly ranked, big-time talents down the stretch though, and landing some of them will go a long ways in Notre Dame’s quest for a top-five class.

For more details on the Rivals rankings formula, click here.

Williams committed to Notre Dame over finalists Alabama, Stanford, Texas and USC.

“Just to be able to say that I’m going to play football for the University of Notre Dame — that’s crazy,” Williams told BlueandGold.com before announcing his pledge. “That leaves me starstruck every time I think about it. The opportunity ahead of me is remarkable. I’m ready to play in the blue and gold.

“Notre Dame was the clear choice for me at the end of the day. It was somewhere I felt comfortable when I visited and on the phone building a relationship with the coaching staff.”

MaxPreps listed Williams on its 2021 California All-State second-team offense and 2019 Sophomore All-American second-team offense.

During a five-game spring junior season in 2021, Williams caught 16 passes for 239 yards and five touchdowns. Two of those scores came in Mater Dei’s 34-17 triumph against archrival St. John Bosco.

Williams is committed to playing in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January 2022.

He was also named a captain on the 2021 Mater Dei football team.

“CJ is a fierce competitor,” Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson said. “He’s a strong, physical receiver who is blessed with outstanding speed and is even more impressive in yards after the catch.”

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