Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 25, 2023

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

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40 NOV. 25, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER A bout a year ago, Saraland (Ala.) High wide receiver and Alabama commit Ryan Williams started a group chat with a few other class of 2025 class pros- pects. Who could have imagined that this action would help lead Notre Dame to landing a four-star pass rusher? Lucedale (Miss.) George County's Deuce Knight was on the group chat. Highland Home (Ala.) High's CJ May was, too. And this was the starting point of a strong friendship between the pros- pects who would go on to be 2025 Notre Dame commitments. Knight and May communicated over text messages and various social media platforms, and then got to meet each other this past summer during a visit at Ole Miss. "Our bond exploded after that," said May, who is the No. 17 edge and No. 211 overall prospect in the land according to On3. "Package deals" are often discussed between prospects but very rarely ac- tually happen unless the players are siblings or high school teammates. May and Knight probably would have ended up committing to Notre Dame even without their friendship, but their connection only made it more likely to occur. "CJ is my dog," said Knight, who is On3's No. 4 quar- terback and No. 29 overall prospect in America. "We were stuck on wanting to team up together and go crazy — me on offense and him on defense." " I h a d a fe e l - ing I'd go to Notre Dame regardless, but Deuce pushed my commitment for- ward," May added. "I was going to wait it out. We always planned on playing together in college." It was easy for the four-star recruits to connect from the get-go. "Instantly, you can tell he's just a funny person," Knight said. "He makes you laugh and tells a lot of jokes. Even here in Mississippi, I like hanging out with funny people, and that's CJ. "And he has the same goal as me, and that's making it to the league. We con- nected off that, too." Knight announced his pledge to Notre Dame Sept. 18 and did so with- out announcing a top schools group. The main players in his recruitment were Notre Dame, Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss. May h e l d o f fe rs f ro m those schools and closely considered each of them. Knight and May would speak about the programs they were considering. "We'd talk about schools and our re- lationships with the different coaching staffs," Knight explained. "I'd text CJ about all the schools, and the schools re- cruiting us the hardest were Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Auburn. He said Notre Dame showed him a different type of love, just like they did with me." May committed to Notre Dame Sept. 23, posting on social media about his decision minutes after the Irish's 17-14 setback against Ohio State. He and Knight were joined at the hip that day. "We were together the whole time," May said. "My brother became tight with his dad." May didn't know going into the visit that he'd commit to Notre Dame. But Knight was confident that his good buddy would pull the trigger on a decision. "I already knew he would be com- mitting," Knight said. "I just know CJ. Before I announced my commitment, I told him that I'm going to Notre Dame and wanted him to slide with me. Every day I was hitting him up and said I need him at Notre Dame. "When we got up there, he told me he might commit on campus. His brother and dad [who accompanied CJ on the visit] both wanted him at Notre Dame, too." ✦ Friends CJ May And Deuce Knight Are Excited To Join Forces At Notre Dame Highland Home (Ala.) High edge CJ May (left) and Lucedale (Miss.) George County quarterback Deuce Knight (right) wanted to play together in college, and their plan is set to become reality with the Irish. PHOTOS BY MIKE SINGER "I had a feeling I'd go to Notre Dame regardless, but Deuce pushed my commitment for- ward. I was going to wait it out. We always planned on playing together in college." MAY

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