Jafar Armstrong

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Michigan WR Canteen announces transfer to Notre Dame

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When Notre Dame and Michigan meet to kick off the 2018 season, receiver Freddy Canteen will be lined up opposite a uniform he used to wear. The former Wolverine receiver announced a graduate transfer commitment to Notre Dame on Saturday evening. Canteen will have two years of eligibility remaining once he graduates from Michigan this spring.

A former rivals.com four-star recruit, Canteen enrolled early at Michigan in the spring of 2014, furthering his ability to now graduate early. He caught five receptions over six games his freshman year before a shoulder injury early his sophomore season ended his Michigan career. Canteen told Irish Illustrated he could have returned to the field for the Wolverines in 2016, but opted to instead preserve a year of playing eligibility.

“Really, I’m just looking for a program where I can display my talents best,” Canteen said. “I’m graduating from Michigan in three years. Why not pursue a master’s at a school as prestigious as Notre Dame?”

Canteen will bolster depth at a position headlined by juniors Equanimeous St. Brown and C.J. Sanders. Though Canteen would not likely project in St. Brown’s place, he could possibly challenge Sanders in the slot or sophomores Kevin Stepherson and Javon McKinley out wide.

He could also, theoretically, flip to defense where Notre Dame needs help at defensive back. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Canteen’s skill set could translate to the position without much lapse.

“Ask anybody about me, I bring speed to the game,” he said.

In his 2014 recruitment, Canteen chose Michigan over offers from Maryland and Tennessee, among others.

After losing rising senior receiver Justin Brent to a transfer in January, Notre Dame added two receiver recruits on National Signing Day, Michael Young and Jafar Armstrong. Later that day, Irish coach Brian Kelly said Notre Dame set aside a scholarship with hopes of bringing in a graduate transfer. Presumably, Kelly was referring to Canteen and Notre Dame now has a full roster of 85 scholarship players.

With two years of eligibility remaining—rather than the typical one of a graduate transfer—Canteen will alter the approach to next year’s recruiting. Notre Dame’s class of 2018 was already likely to be a smaller group than usual.

Letters are in: WRs Michael Young and Jafar Armstrong

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Do not forget to tune into und.com/signing day and WatchND throughout the day for real-time official announcements of national letters of intent and a live signing day show on the “Fighting Irish Board” presented by Vivid Seats.

MICHAEL YOUNG, JR.
Destrehan; Saint Rose, La.

Measurements: 5’11”, 175 lbs.

Accolades: Consensus three-star recruit; No. 20 player in Louisiana, per rivals.com and 71st at position

Other Notable Offers: Texas A&M, Oregon, Virginia Tech

Projected Position: Wide receiver

Quick Take: Perhaps comparing Young to Torii Hunter is too easy, and not only because both enjoy the suffix of Jr. Young is known for good hands and quick moves, using his smaller stature against defenders rather than letting them take advantage of him. With quick hands, he has shown no trouble getting off the line.


JAFAR ARMSTRONG
Bishop Miege; Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Measurements: 6’1″, 200 lbs.

Accolades: Rivals.com three-star recruit; No. 3 player in Missouri, per rivals.com; 77th at position

Other Offers Considered: Missouri, Minnesota

Projected Position: Wide receiver

Quick Take: Armstrong flipped to Notre Dame over the weekend, ending a commitment to Missouri. His large frame and strong hands should provide new receivers Del Alexander a solid foundation with which to work.

Flippin’ Sunday: Irish snag two more recruits

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Notre Dame’s recruiting class jumped to 18 commitments Sunday night with the decisions of two players previously committed to other Power-Five schools.

Receiver Jafar Armstrong (Bishop Miege High School; Roeland Park, Kan.) visited coach Brian Kelly and other offensive coaches on campus this weekend, quickly de-committing from Missouri after his visit. By the end of the night, he doubled the incoming receiver count with an Irish decision.

Only hours later, kicker Jonathan Doerer (South Mecklenburg H.S.; Charlotte, N.C.) switched his commitment from Maryland to Notre Dame in one fell tweet.

“After some recent talks with my family and people whose opinion I hold in high esteem, I have decided that it would be in my best interest to decommit [sic] from UMD and spend the next 4 years of my life at the University of Notre Dame ☘️!!!”

Safety Evan Fields (Midwest City; Oklahoma City) could possibly make it a class of 19 commitments today (Jan. 30) at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, when he has a ceremony scheduled at his high school for his announcement. Notre Dame received the final visit of Fields’s recruitment, hardly ever a bad sign.

Three days from Signing Day, a look at offensive recruits

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Yesterday featured a quick look at defensive recruits. Some guy on Twitter joked today would bring a quicker glance at special teams recruits.

That attempt at humor pointed out there are no special teams recruits in Notre Dame’s current 2017 class. (Both kicker Justin Yoon and punter Tyler Newsome should be back handling those responsibilities in 2017.)

There are, however, nine offensive recruits with the increasingly likely potential of adding an additional receiver—or, though unlikely, two receivers—before Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Coach Brian Kelly and his staff landed the commitment of Michael Young (Destrehan High School; Destrehan, La.) back in July, but Young remains the only receiver in the class. Former Missouri-commit Jafar Armstrong (Bishop Miege H.S.; Roeland Park, Kan.) spent this weekend on campus and announced on Twitter his de-commitment from Missouri on Sunday morning. He appears to be Notre Dame’s best chance at adding another outside play-maker this cycle, especially with that de-commitment coming in such short order from his visit with Kelly and, presumably, new offensive coordinator Chip Long and receivers coach Del Alexander.

Depending how much faith one puts in a peer’s influence on a teenager, picking up Armstrong’s prep teammate Colin Grunhard as a preferred walk-on offensive lineman this week could have played a part in Armstrong’s wavering.

If Armstrong did indeed reopen his recruitment with intentions of ending up with the Irish, Notre Dame will still look to Penn State-commit Mac Hippenhammer (Snider; Fort Wayne, Ind.) or Oliver Martin (West; Iowa City) with hopes of a Signing Day surprise and a third receiver in the class of 2017. Hippenhammer, a three-star recruit who should be noted for his five-star name if nothing else, made the 2 ½-hour drive to South Bend early last week shortly after receiving an offer, but an official visit to Penn State before Wednesday may bode poorly for Irish chances.

Martin, meanwhile, has defied the norms and kept his cards close to his figurative vest throughout his recruitment. Come Wednesday, he will delight the fans and coaching staff at likely Michigan, Michigan State or Notre Dame. Until then, well, stay tuned.

Theoretically, Kelly & Co. still have a chance at Jordan Pouncey (Winter Park; Winter Park, Fla.), but the receiver de-committed in December during the Irish coaching staff upheaval. He has supposedly kept Notre Dame in consideration, but let’s follow precedent and presume the Irish spurned.

Aside from receiver, the offensive half of this recruiting class has been set for some time, including four commitments—two tight ends and two offensive linemen—dating back to 2015.

CURRENT OFFENSIVE COMMITMENTS
QB: Avery Davis
RB: C.J. Holmes (early enrollee)
WR: Michael Young
TE: Brock Wright (early enrollee), Cole Kmet
OL: Aaron Banks (early enrollee), Robert Hainsey (early enrollee), Dillan Gibbons, Josh Lugg