football Edit

SIGNED: DB Houston Griffith

Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy defensive back Houston Griffith has submitted his National Letter of Intent to Notre Dame.

RANKINGS 

Rivals: 4.0-star (No. 9 prospect in Florida, and No. 3 safety and No. 35 overall player nationally)

BGI Grade: 4.0-star

Upside Grade: 5.0-star (as a safety)

Griffith is the highest ranked safety to sign with Notre Dame since Max Redfield in 2013. He is just the second Rivals100 safety to sign with Notre Dame during Brian Kelly’s tenure.

MEASURABLES 

Griffith checked in at 6-1 and 192 pounds at the Nike Football The Opening Regional Chicago at Halas Hall on April 2, 2017.

STATISTICS 

SENIOR SEASON: Recorded 35 tackles, three stops for a loss, one sack, one interception and four passes broken up.

JUNIOR SEASON: Recorded 15 tackles, one sack and seven passes broken up.

HONORS 

SENIOR SEASON

Nike Football The Opening Finalist
Under Armour All-American
Rivals Five-Star Challenge Invitee

RECRUITMENT 

POWER FIVE OFFERS: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

Griffith’s path to Notre Dame was a unique one, to be sure. The Irish offered him before his sophomore year, and the f0ur-star was long thought to be a Notre Dame lean. Then Notre Dame went 4-8, thanks in large part to poor defensive play. That led to the firing of defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, and Notre Dame looked to to be on the outside looking in for Griffith heading into the summer.

However, Griffith started communicating with defensive coordinator Mike Elko, and was convinced to give Notre Dame another look after watching the defensive back’s performance against Temple. Griffith took an official visit to Notre Dame for the Georgia game Sept. 9, but committed to Florida State a month later.

A month after that, he opened things back up and committed to Notre Dame Dec. 12.

NOTABLE 

• Born Dec. 17, 1999.
• Spent the first two years of his high school career at Chicago Mt. Carmel before transferring to IMG.
• Son of former Denver Broncos fullback Howard Griffith, a 10-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion.
• Played on a high school seven-on-seven team with current Notre Dame defensive backs Isaiah Robertson and Julian Love.

2018 PROJECTION 

Griffith will get an opportunity to push for early playing time. Notre Dame’s safeties struggled to make plays on the ball and to tackle with consistency during the 2017 season, so there will likely be an open competition at both safety positions this spring. Griffith is enrolling early, so he will be a part of that competition.

BGI ANALYSIS 

“Griffith brings the kind of versatility you want in a defensive back, especially in a defense like the one Notre Dame plays under defensive coordinator Mike Elko. The Irish coordinator wants defensive backs that bring positional flexibility and he wants defensive backs that can play the pass as well as they play the run. Griffith is that kind of player, grading out as a four-star cornerback and a four-star safety.

“It is the safety position where Griffith’s upside is truly the highest, and it’s as a safety that he received the five-star upside grade. He spent the first three years of his prep career playing cornerback, but he lacks the top-end speed to be an elite cornerback. But make no mistake, he can play cornerback at the next level. The coverage skills he does possess and his football IQ make project very well to the safety position.

“Griffith really filled out his frame nicely as a senior, which allowed him to become a strong tackler. The 6-1, 192-pounder was always a physical player with strong hands, but the improved size made him a far more effective run defender as a safety. He is a heady player, and with more experience as a safety he should become a highly disruptive pass defender.” BGI Football Analyst Bryan Driskell

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