Notre Dame has turned its defensive recruiting into a parade of four-star recruits. Of the 10 commits since new Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman was hired in January, eight of them have been four-star prospects, now including consensus four-star cornerback Benjamin Morrison (Brophy Prep; Phoenix). Morrison chose Notre Dame over finalists Washington and Alabama on Thursday while also considering Auburn, Florida State and Oregon.
Morrison is the second consensus four-star defender pulled in by Freeman just this week, following linebacker Jaylen Sneed (Hilton Head Island High School; S.C.), and the fourth defensive back in the class, of which three are four-star prospects.
“Washington was my dream school growing up,” Morrison said to Blue & Gold Illustrated. “It came down to those three schools — Washington, Alabama and Notre Dame. I went to see all three, and they had their pros and cons.
“After those visits, I went with my gut, and Notre Dame felt special to me. I’m excited to be a part of what they’re doing with coach Freeman and the recruiting class.”
Be it because of Freeman, because of changing dynamics coming out of the 15-month-long dead period forced by the coronavirus pandemic or because the Irish are 43-8 across the last four seasons, they have established a new standard of defensive recruiting. Either a prospect employs a standalone skill (consensus three-star cornerback Jayden Bellamy and his outright track speed), has a proven family pedigree (consensus three-star defensive tackle Donovan Hinish) or is a four-star prospect.
In Morrison’s case, his wingspan extends longer than would normally be expected from someone standing 6-foot, and combining that with his disciplined coverage creates a cornerback that may force his way into early playing time in his career.
Morrison’s father, Darryl, played four seasons for the Washington Football Team as a safety, and his brother, Samuel, followed their father’s footsteps as a cornerback at the University of Arizona.
The No. 30 cornerback in the class of 2022, per rivals.com, Morrison slots in one spot behind four-star Devin Moore after Moore’s commitment on the Fourth of July.
— Benjamin Morrison (@BMoe_21) July 15, 2021
This summer has boosted Notre Dame’s class of 2022 to 19 commitments, a strong surge after the Irish could not host any recruits in the cycle until June 1.