Three commits in three days: 2023 RB Dylan Edwards pledges to the Irish
Running backs coach Deland McCullough dipped into Kansas to add another offensive weapon to Notre Dame's 2023 class.
On Saturday, three-star recruit Dylan Edwards announced his Notre Dame commitment. The Derby (Kan.) High running back is the third Irish commit in three days, 23rd overall in the 2023 class, and marks another with elite speed. Earlier this week, Notre Dame garnered pledges from four-star linebacker Jaiden Ausberry and three-star athlete Ben Minich.
Notre Dame's latest commit, Edwards, was initially committed to Kansas State. But once the Irish entered the mix last week, it changed the outlook of his recruitment. Notre Dame's academic excellence and player development led to him decommitting from the Wildcats, and his familiarity with McCullough quickly sealed the deal for the Irish.
"Having someone that I could lean on there, I couldn't pass that up," Edwards told Inside ND Sports before making his commitment public. "Why not Notre Dame? They're a big centerpiece of college football. Everybody wants to play for Notre Dame."
Rivals ranks Edwards as the No. 10 all-purpose back nationally and No. 3 prospect in Kansas in the 2023 class. But because he is not one of Notre Dame's top 20 commits, his pledge did not have any effect on the Rivals team recruiting rankings. The Irish remain in first place with a 200-point lead over Alabama.
Edwards reported his ND offer July 27, 11 days after running a laser-timed, 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Under Armour Future 50. That sprint also registered a speed of 22.9 mph on the Catapult GPS system at the camp, which took place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It sparked interest from several college teams, including Notre Dame.
"My phone blew up after that camp," Edwards said. "It was so unexpected because I was committed. I didn't plan on decommitting, but things happen. So at that time, Notre Dame really wanted to pull the trigger on me, and that's what happened."
The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder visited Notre Dame the day after it extended a scholarship offer — a trip that sparked the eventual decommitment from the Kansas State legacy one week ago. Edwards first visited Notre Dame last summer as an unoffered prospect.
But the Irish targeted Edwards this summer amidst uncertainty with other recruits.
In the 2023 class, Notre Dame remains among the top suitors for four-star targets Jeremiyah Love and Ronan Hanafin. While Love and Hanafin took official visits to Notre Dame in June, both recruits have other attractive options elsewhere.
Edwards' offensive versatility keeps the door open for Love to still come to Notre Dame as a running back/wide receiver and Hanafin to play wide receiver or safety if he opts for the Irish. In addition, the Irish still have in the fold four-star running back Jayden Limar, who can also produce as a pass-catching back.
While adding a weapon like Edwards to the Irish offense wasn't part of Notre Dame's early recruiting plan, it has home run potential.
"He has real good vision and balance," said Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He's stronger than he looks. He's the kind of guy when he comes to Notre Dame, and if they find ways to get him in space, he'll be an electric player. To me, it's a no-brainer. He'll be an exciting player."
As a junior, Edwards rushed for 2,603 yards on 208 carries (12.5 yards per carry) and 38 touchdowns in 12 games. Although he had limited involvement in the passing game, Edwards did catch eight passes for 101 yards (12.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown. He also took two punts and a kickoff to the end zone.
At Notre Dame, Edwards intends to keep playing multiple positions.
"'They want to get me the ball so that I can make moves and score," he said. "That's what coach Freeman and coach Rees played in my head. When I get there, I am going to be a playmaker. I wouldn't necessarily put a tag on one position. ... It's about me making plays."
After the 2021 season, 20 schools offered Edwards. He narrowed his recruitment May 13 to a top 10 that included Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington, Kansas and Jackson State. Before committing to KSU on June 23, he officially visited Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Kansas State was the first school to offer Edwards after 1,833 yards rushing on 208 carries (8.9 yards per carry) and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore in 11 games. He also caught 16 passes for 204 yards (12.75 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.
Edwards is Notre Dame's second commitment flip in the class. Previously, the Irish secured defensive lineman Boubacar Traore from West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial High about a month after his Boston College decommitment.
Edwards plays his high school ball near Wichita, about 140 miles from Kansas State. Pending his and follow Kansas product Joe Otting's signatures in December, they will be the first Irish scholarship players from a Kansas high school since wide receiver Jafar Armstrong in 2017. In 2007, linebacker Brian Smith was the first player from Kansas to sign with ND in the Rivals era (since 2002).
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