Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2021

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

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34 AUGUST 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MIKE SINGER Multiple sources indicated to Blue & Gold Illustrated that the Notre Dame coaching staff was a little sur- prised when Jayden Bellamy made the call and committed to their 2022 class. His recruitment was tough to read and many pundits believed that he'd choose Penn State, but Bellamy decided to call South Bend home. The 5-11, 175-pound defensive back from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Cath- olic announced a top six of Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and Rutgers on May 6. He took official visits to Notre Dame and Penn State in June, and the Irish were victorious in the recruitment. "Academics played a big part, and I bonded the best with Coach [Mike] Mickens, Coach [Marcus] Freeman and the whole staff," Bellamy told BGI about choosing the Irish. "When I was with them during the visit, we were making a lot of jokes and ever since they offered me, they went after me hard. That played a part, too." Bellamy called Mickens to inform him of his decision June 23 and an- nounced his pledge July 2. "At first, I called Coach Mickens, and Coach [Chris] O'Leary was with him," Bellamy recalled. "After that, Coach Freeman called. They were surprised and happy. They were all really excited. Coach Freeman is happy about me going there and was talking to my parents about how good of a player I am and how big the academic part is." Bellamy is listed by Rivals as a cor- nerback, but he could end up any- where in the Notre Dame secondary. "As of right now, they see me as a corner, but they can move me around," Bellamy said. "They see me playing nickel, corner and being an overall versatile player. "I'm very versatile. When it comes to playing cornerback, what defines me is my patience and footwork. I can tackle, too. As a safety last sea- son, I had to be a lot more physical." Rivals lists Bellamy with a 5.7 re- cruit ranking, the highest designation for a three-star prospect. He is rated as the No. 9 player in New Jersey and the No. 59 cornerback in the country by the outlet. Bellamy is high school teammates with Irish quarterback commit Steve Angeli in the 2022 class. In a short- ened season in 2020, Angeli and Bellamy led the Crusaders to a 5-1 record and the No. 1 ranking in the state per MaxPreps. "That's going to be really great," Bellamy said of playing with Angeli. "He had been trying to get me to go to Notre Dame. He's really excited." He caught eight passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns from Angeli. On the de- fensive side of the ball, he posted 14 tackles, broke up two passes and notched one interception that he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Bellamy was named to the 2020 Jersey Sports Zone Non-Public first-team de- fense, and listed Bellamy on its 2020 All-North Jersey first-team defense. "I'd argue that he's the most productive player in the New Jersey Super confer- ence," Bergen Catholic head coach Vito Campanile said. "He's a home run hitter with incredible speed. I think he's going to get better and better. He's the most dynamic play- maker we have on our team. "He plays safety for us be- cause covers ground so well and is a hitter, but I person- ally think his best position is corner. He's so patient and never gets panicked. He's a really good football player." Per Rivals, Bellamy held offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Okla- homa, Penn State, Rutgers, Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Lou- isville, Maryland, Michigan, Ten- nessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin and others. His father, Jay Bellamy, played safety in the NFL for the Seattle Se- ahawks (1994-2000) and the New Orleans Saints (2001-07). He totaled 392 tackles, 24 interceptions and one defensive score. The elder Bellamy played his collegiate ball at Rutgers. ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE JAYDEN BELLAMY Notre Dame Beats Penn State, Others For New Jersey Defensive Back Bellamy — a 5-11, 175-pound three-star recruit from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic — could play cornerback or safety for Notre Dame. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM FILM ANALYSIS "[Jayden] Bellamy is a physical and instinc- tual defensive back with great length and solid footwork. He does a nice job getting his hand on the ball, too. Bellamy has the height and length to be able to match up against bigger receivers, and he has the footwork to be able to stick with smaller slot receivers. "There is going to be a learning curve for Bellamy once he gets to Notre Dame, and it'll be interesting to see how he handles the op- posing receivers." — Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman "Academics played a big part, and I bonded the best with Coach [Mike] Mickens, Coach [Marcus] Freeman and the whole staff. When I was with them during the visit, we were making a lot of jokes, and ever since they offered me they went after me hard. That played a part, too." BELLAMY ON COMMITTING TO NOTRE DAME

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