Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY MIKE SINGER Be n ja m i n Mo r r i so n took three official visits during the summer go- ing into his senior year of high school. First up was Notre Dame. Then he went to Oregon. And he finished up with a trip to Washington. The vibe going into the summer was that Notre Dame was the heavy fa- vorite for the four-star cornerback from Phoe- nix Brophy Prep. But after he took his Wash- ington visit — the school where his sister Faith was a gymnast a few years ago — he nearly committed to the Huskies. "I went to Washington and I fell in love," Morrison said. "It was my dream school from a young age. Going there and knowing that I've gotten to the level that I used to pray for was awesome. I have nothing but respect for those coaches. They're awesome people. "What happened, happened on my visit there, and then I came back down to earth and reflected on what I wanted. I felt that Notre Dame was the best fit for me and that I couldn't pass up on an opportunity like that." While pondering his decision, he spoke with Marcus Freeman and the Irish staff. Notre Dame's pitch to him? Well, it was more reminding him why he was so high on the Irish in the first place. "It was never about convincing me. They told me what they had to offer, and it was up to me to make a decision," Morrison said. "I prayed a lot with my family." Morrison committed to Notre Dame July 15 and never looked back, despite a short period of turmoil and uncertainty when Brian Kelly left to become LSU's new head coach. He held more than 20 offers and had a hand- ful of great options to choose from, but landing on Notre Dame is exactly what he wanted, and the rest of his se- nior year went swimmingly. "It's awesome to be set in stone with a school," he said. "The process got hectic when June hit. Recruiting visits opened back up, so you could go wherever you want. And then after I committed, I was locked in with Notre Dame. It was a weight off my shoulders." ✦ Benjamin Morrison Reflects On Choosing The Irish Over Huskies Morrison was almost a member of Washington's 2022 recruiting class, but the four-star cornerback from Phoenix ultimately couldn't pass up on the opportunity to go to Notre Dame. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER BENJAMIN MORRISON CORNERBACK 6-0 · 179 BROPHY PREP PHOENIX, ARIZ. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE consensus ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 325 34 3 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 43 3 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 43 5 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 29 3 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 36 3 STATISTICS • Notched 60 tackles, six stops for loss, one sack, two interceptions and five passes broken up, plus 357 kickoff return yards on 11 attempts, during his senior year. • Recorded 36 tackles, three tackles for loss, one pass defended and two blocked field goals during a five-game junior season in 2020. NOTABLE • Born on March 11, 2004. • 2022 Polynesian Bowl selection. • The Republic's 2021 All-Arizona football team. • 2021 AzPreps 365 All 6A Conference first-team defense and kickoff returner. • 2021 Sports360Az Division 6A All-Academic honorable mention. • 2021 All-Desert Valley Region first-team de- fense and kickoff returner. • Has four siblings who are all Division I athletes: Faith, gymnastics (Washington); Samuel, football (Arizona); Grace, volleyball (Appalachian State); and Naomi, gymnastics (Michigan). • Father, Darryl, was a defensive back at Arizona and played four seasons in the NFL (1993-96) with the then-named Washington Redskins. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Notre Dame on July 15, 2021. • Will enroll at Notre Dame this summer. • Was close to committing to Washington, but chose the Irish instead. Also had offers from Ala- bama, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State and others. • Recruited by cornerbacks coach Mike Mick- ens and former special teams coordinator Brian Polian. • Visited Notre Dame for the USC game last October, plus official visits in June 2021 and De- cember 2021. 2022 PROJECTION • Morrison is a dark horse to break into Notre Dame's cornerback rotation and play as a true freshman. THEY SAID IT Brophy Prep head coach Jason Jewell: "There's really nothing he can't do. He can play man or zone and be physical in the run game, which sets him apart. He's willing to stick his facemask on some- body, and he's physical. "I'd never say a kid would start as a true fresh- man, but he has a chance to be a contributor in his first couple years at Notre Dame." National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming: "Mor- rison is quick in run support and a strong athlete with good burst. He's effective against the run and even more effective when the ball is in the air. "Shows a smooth backpedal, can turn and stay with swift receivers vertically, and is fast enough to recover when caught out of position. He shows an impressive skill set and a great attitude." 62 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED

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