May 6, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT
Just as things had seemed to quiet on the football front, Notre Dame’s coaching staff received an important commitment for the 2015 recruiting class. Tennessee wide receiver C.J. Sanders gave the Irish a verbal commitment, choosing Notre Dame over offers from Cal, Georgia, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and others.
Sanders is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound wide receiver from Nashville’s Brentwood Academy. He’s the eight member of the growing class of 2015, joining Allen, Texas’ Jalen Guyton at wide receiver. Sanders visited campus last weekend, needing very little time to pull the trigger on picking the Irish.
While Sanders is a fairly off-the-radar prospect in this recruiting cycle for Irish fans, one thing that’s readily apparent is his speed. An elite level sprinter, Sanders ran a 10.64 100 meter dash last year in track and field. That speed flashes once you watch Sanders’ highlights, when he caught 52 passes for 734 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
Sanders’ athleticism is the product of a great family tree. His father Chris played wide receiver for Ohio State and then played seven seasons in the NFL. His stepfather Corey Harris played 12 seasons in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens. His mother played basketball at Michigan.
Sanders has moved to Southern California and will play his senior season at Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks. He’s an established actor, working regularly as a younger child, a series regular on Six Feet Under and Saved after breaking in playing a young Ray Charles in the Oscar-winning movie starring Jamie Foxx.
(KeiVarae Russell might have some competition for best actor on the football team.)
Sanders projects as a slot receiver with speed as good as any of the receivers currently on the roster. He’ caught up with Irish Illustrated’s Steve Hare to discuss what made him pull the trigger now.
“Once I got the chance to go up there this weekend I just fell in love with it,” Sanders told Hare. “After the visit I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I felt it. This morning I wanted to make it official so I told Coach Booker that I wanted to get in contact with coach Kelly and call him and let him know everything. I called him during my study hall at school and made it official.”