Listed Measurements: 5-foot-11, 195 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, including the 2018 season.
Depth chart: Behind junior Tony Jones and senior Dexter Williams, Notre Dame must turn to true freshmen Jahmir Smith and Flemister for bona fide running backs. Sophomores Jafar Armstrong and Avery Davis are also in the mix, but they will both work at receiver, as well, while Davis should continue to take some quarterback snaps in practice, too.
Recruiting: Flemister first committed to Georgia Southern and then Georgia Tech before signing with the Irish on National Signing Day. His recruitment took a turn to the north — Flemister hails from tiny Zebulon, Ga. — when Notre Dame dismissed two of its returning running backs in Deon McIntosh and C.J. Holmes. Suddenly the Irish were desperate for depth and found it in the consensus three-star prospect.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly did not avoid the obvious reasoning for the quick recruitment of Flemister when discussing him in February. Depth was a concern.
“The running back position, obviously, was a need for us,” Kelly said. “C’Bo Flemister is a guy that really was attracted to us with his running style. From a football standpoint, we loved the fact that we had a north-and-south back here that played with low pads, and that’s what we were looking for, a guy that could really hit it inside-out for us and extremely productive that position.
“Great fit for us, really solid student that fits here at Notre Dame.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN FLEMISTER’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“Smith has an advantage over Flemister at the outset, having enrolled early, but whichever of the two can gain a step on the other in games will be in prime position to see a lot of carries in 2018. At that point, … Williams will be gone and the Irish will need someone — or multiple someones — to complement [Jones]. Offensive coordinator Chip Long enjoys utilizing two running back formations, but feels comfortable doing so only when both running backs involved can run, block and catch. Flemister will need to show a comfort level with the latter two, particularly the receiving, to be featured alongside the mutli-tooled Jones.”
Flemister will play, and it is not presumptuous to think he will play more than the four games the NCAA will now essentially ignore regarding eligibility. If he plays in only four games, that means both Jones and Williams are fully healthy for the vast majority of the season and Smith has proven himself capable of absorbing 12 tackles at the college level in one afternoon without obvious signs of wear.
Flemister’s quick first burst and physical running style make him a model mop-up duty reserve. He will get from the handoff to the line, avoiding tackles in the backfield, and will usually fall forward on a tackle, guaranteeing two yards per rush. When draining the clock, that is nearly all that is needed.
Thus, expect Flemister to play and take 20 carries for 45 yards. That may seem a pittance, but it could be the difference between Jones having gas in the fourth quarter at USC to end the regular season and Jones missing key assignments in a close loss to the Trojans, dashing any playoff-access bowl dreams.
DOWN THE ROAD
Until Notre Dame starts routinely signing four- and five-star running backs, each backfield ballcarrier will have the chance to shine for a season. Flemister can position himself for that honor next year, dutifully supporting Jones and outplaying Smith. Then, come 2020 or 2021, it will be Flemister’s show.
He will need to develop in both facets of the passing game, Williams’ playing time struggles speak to that requirement, but Flemister has time to do so before the stigma of that fate is attached to him.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer