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Blue & Gold Illustrated

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

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42 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER W ith 17 commitments, Notre Dame's 2020 class is nearly wrapped up, as the Irish have room for two or three more recruits. All of Notre Dame's pledges are tracked in the commit updates on page 45. The following is a focus on a few Fighting Irish class of 2020 com- mits that are playing well this fall. XAVIER WATTS WIDE RECEIVER • 6-0, 181 Omaha (Neb.) Burke Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent, No. 2 player in Nebraska and No. 100 wide receiver nationally The Skinny: While Rivals lists Watts as a three-star prospect, the Burke star has been dominant at the high school level. Watts led his team to an undefeated record and a state championship in 2018, and the start to his senior season has been noth- ing short of electric. Through four games this season, Watts has hauled in 25 passes for 445 yards and four touchdowns. His play certainly looks more like that of a four-star prospect. The best word to describe Watts as a receiver is playmaker. He catches the ball at its highest point very well and can take what should be a short gain to the end zone. His route run- ning, which he worked on in the off- season, has improved since his junior season. Watts is not afraid to go over the middle, and he's tough to bring down. Watts has also shined at free safety this season, with a 66-yard intercep- tion return for a touchdown, 12 ta- ckles and two passes broken up. JORDAN BOTELHO OUTSIDE LINEBACKER • 6-3, 230 Honolulu St. Louis Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, No. 1 player in Hawai'i, and the No. 16 outside linebacker and No. 211 overall prospect in the country The Skinny: While listed as an outside linebacker for Rivals, Botelho will play the drop end spot for the Irish, the hybrid position currently manned by Julian Okwara. Botelho had an excellent junior sea- son, and his senior year has offered more of the same. He compiled 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks through six games, and was a big part of an undefeated start to the season for St. Louis High. The Crusaders were ranked as the No. 7 team in the na- tion by MaxPreps heading into the final weekend of September. The 6-3, 230-pounder is being used similarly to how he will play at Notre Dame, out on the edge and wreak- ing havoc in the backfield. Botelho is a sure tackler, gets off the ball fast, fights off blocks well and excels get- ting inside on stunts. He is a smart, instinctive football player and has a bright career ahead of him. TOSH BAKER OFFENSIVE TACKLE • 6-8, 285 Phoenix Pinnacle Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, No. 3 player in Arizona, and No. 5 offensive tackle and No. 44 overall prospect in the nation The Skinny: Baker is a force to be reckoned with. On tape, he stone- walls defenders often and moves very well for a lineman with his mas- sive size. Pinnacle is off to a 3-1 start to the season with its lone loss being against a nationally ranked team by two points on the road. In those four contests, Pin- nacle averaged 215 passing yards and 143 rushing yards per game, and Baker plays a big part in both. He prides himself on taking his opponent completely out of the play — often times "pancaking" the pass rusher. With Baker's great arm length and movements, his ceiling is incred- ibly high and he has the chance to be an elite tackle for the Irish. JAY BRUNELLE WIDE RECEIVER • 6-2, 200 Shrewsbury (Mass.) Saint John's Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent and No. 8 player in Massachusetts The Skinny: Brunelle doesn't have a very high ranking, but he has the size, speed and playmaking ability to excel at Notre Dame. Through just two games in his se- nior season, Brunelle had 12 recep- tions for 264 yards and three touch- downs. Unfortunately, both games resulted in losses for Saints John's, but he has been making big-time plays down the field as evidenced by his average of 22.0 yards per catch. He is a sure-handed possession re- ceiver, but he can also make plays in traffic down the field. ✦ Honolulu St. Louis standout Jordan Botelho — the No. 1 player in Hawai'i, and the No. 16 outside line- backer and No. 211 overall recruit in the country per Rivals — was off to a strong start to his senior season, notching 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks through six games. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Progress Report: 2020 Irish Pledges That Are Excelling

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