Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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42 SEPT. 24, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID MCKINNEY Notre Dame picked up commitment No. 18 in the class of 2019 Sept. 9, when Edwardsville (Ill.) High athlete Kendall Abdur-Rahman announced his pledge to the Irish. Abdur-Rahman, 247Sports' No. 285 overall player in the country, was in town for Notre Dame's 24-17 win over Michigan Sept. 1, and chose the Irish over a final group that included Ne- braska, Illinois and Indiana. The Illinois native originally planned to take more official visits prior to an- nouncing his decision, but moved it up following his trip to South Bend. He also holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Michigan State. Abdur-Rahman plays quarterback for Edwardsville, but the Fighting Irish recruited him to play wide receiver. Through three games this season, he had completed 8 of 17 passes for 157 yards with five touchdowns, and had 25 rushing attempts for 365 yards and six scores. Abdur-Rahman said he decided to join Notre Dame's 2019 class because of his overall feel for the school and football program. "I really like how they work and their philosophy," Abdur-Rahman said. "I definitely like that they're such an academic school, too, in case I don't continue my career in football. That played a major role." Notre Dame was the leader for Abdur-Rahman coming into the of- ficial visit, but the new Irish pledge said he wanted to take the trip to be completely sure South Bend was the place for him. The official wrapped up the deci- sion, especially the time he spent with wide receivers coach DelVaughn Al- exander. Abdur-Rahman said it's easy to tell that Alexander's players love going to work with him every day. "When I went up there, it seemed like he and the receivers were all pretty close," the Edwardsville star said. "They all trust him, and he seems like a super cool guy to work with." Although Abdur-Rahman plays mostly quarterback in high school, Notre Dame loves his potential as an athletic wide receiver. Edwardsville head coach Matt Martin said it's easy to see why the Irish coaching staff thinks he can be a potential difference maker. Martin has been coaching high school football since 1999, and said he's never seen anyone quite like Arm- strong. "I've been thinking that he might be the best I've ever seen, or at least coached, with the ball in his hands," Martin told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "The best teams have playmakers, and that's what Kendall is." Obviously, having Adbur-Rahman on his roster has been an enormous asset to Martin's teams. "It's been huge," Martin explained. "It's no secret that our offense runs through him. He has a lot more help this year, but if we can get him in the open, we've got a good chance of scor- ing, regardless of where we are on the field." According to Martin, there's a lot to like about Abdur-Rahman's game. "He's elusive," Martin explained. "He can make people miss, he's got great top-end speed and he can break arm tackles — you can't underestimate that." The speed and agility are noticeable immediately, but there's another factor to Abdur-Rahman's game that a lot of people fail to notice, according to the coach. "It takes multiple guys to take him down," Martin said. "He runs stron- ger than he weighs. He's 6-foot-1 and maybe 185, but he runs a lot stronger than that." It's easy for fans to see what Adbur- Rahman is capable of on Friday nights, but Martin noted there's more to the Irish pledge than just what people see under the lights. In practice, Abdur-Rahman is one of the more selfless players on the team. "He's always working in practice," Martin said. "He'll jump in at receiver on scout team. He's always working on scout team, playing quarterback or receiver." As a junior, Abdur-Rahman com- pleted 22 of 55 throws for 308 yards with two touchdowns, while rushing for 886 yards and 11 scores on 103 car- ries. In limited action as a sophomore, Abdur-Rahman had 25 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Kendall Abdur-Rahman is a dynamic play- maker with all the skills you want in a spread wide receiver … He is one of the top athletes on the board for Notre Dame, grading out on the BGI Big Board with a higher athleticism grade than Rivals100 receivers Kyle Ford and Trey Knox, and higher than Rivals250 receiver John Metchie (an Alabama commit) … Is elu- sive, has top-notch change of direction skills and possesses really impressive strength for someone his size … His vision with the ball in his hands might be the skill that stands out the most. Areas For Improvement Has never played wide receiver, so transi- tioning to college will require him to learn a whole new set of techniques … It might take him a bit longer to catch on than most receiv- ers, but the ability is there … Improving his second gear is another area where advance- ments would be welcomed. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE KENDALL ABDUR-RAHMAN Versatile Illinois Athlete Picks Notre Dame Abdur-Rahman, a high school quarterback, will play wide receiver when he arrives at Notre Dame. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM "I've been thinking that he might be the best I've ever seen, or at least coached, with the ball in his hands." EDWARDSVILLE HEAD COACH MATT MARTIN ON ABDUR-RAHMAN

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