If the Saturday ever comes Brendon Clark throws to Cam Hart for multiple touchdowns, their connection will trace to Independence Day 2018, when both consensus three-star prospects committed to Notre Dame.
Hart (Good Counsel High School; Olney, Md.) started things off Wednesday morning by choosing the Irish over Michigan State and Virginia Tech. Playing both receiver and defensive back in high school, Hart expects to focus on receiver duties in college, despite it not being his preference.
“I’m looking forward to playing right away,” he told rivals.com. “Receiver will be my main position right now because of how many defensive backs they already have. I’d personally like to play defensive back in college but we’ll see how things shake out. Receiver is my best option for playing time at Notre Dame.”
The Irish signed seven defensive backs in last year’s recruiting class and hold commitments from three more in this cycle, compared to four receivers in 2018 and now Hart in 2019. At 6-foot-3, his height would make more sense as a receiver, anyway. Combine that with a defender’s mentality embracing contact and Hart should develop into a solid possession receiver, perhaps working along the field sideline, a good role for a currently-raw prospect lacking true top-end speed.
Clark (Manchester H.S.; Midlothian, Va.) joined Hart in the afternoon, choosing Notre Dame over North Carolina and Clemson. His recruitment came as a direct result of the de-commitment of consensus four-star quarterback Cade McNamara (Damonte Ranch; Reno, Nev.) back in March. McNamara eventually committed to Michigan, and the Irish settled on Clark as their primary target, despite his pledge to Wake Forest.
A May offer from Notre Dame led to Clark reopening his recruitment, focusing on the Irish, Clemson and North Carolina. The No. 23 pro-style quarterback in his class, per rivals.com, Clark will join a complicated quarterback depth chart next fall.
Currently, senior Brandon Wimbush will start with junior Ian Book backing him up and incoming freshman Phil Jurkovec bringing the never-ending threat of potential, though significant playing time for the heralded recruit as a freshman remains unlikely. However, Wimbush has only two years of eligibility remaining, including 2018, and Jurkovec could be in line for the starting role whenever Wimbush leaves Notre Dame, conceivably as soon as after this season.
At that point, Clark would be immediately competing with Book for back up duties. Thus, this was a vital need for the Irish to fill.
Notre Dame now has 17 commitments in the class of 2019, widely expected to be a smaller recruiting class, granted the disclaimer of attrition can occur in the most unexpected of ways and in the most unanticipated times.