Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2024

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2024 75 BY KYLE KELLY One of Chicago's top football recruits announced his college commitment in favor of the Fighting Irish Jan. 6. Chicago Simeon Career Academy four-star edge Christopher Burgess pledged to Notre Dame during the All- American Bowl game in San Antonio. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder's decision came after a head-to-head recruiting battle with Ohio State. "What it really came down to was life after football," Burgess told On3's Chad Simmons about his decision to pick the Irish. "That Notre Dame degree carries a lot of weight. It sets you up for life. You can get any job, work anywhere in the world and the alumni will always be there. "The degree is what set Notre Dame apart in the end for me. What Notre Dame offers is different." In addition to Notre Dame and Ohio State, more than 30 other Power Five programs offered Burgess since his re- cruitment began about 20 months ago. Alabama, LSU and Michigan finished as finalists. According to On3's rankings, Burgess is the No. 3 prospect in Illinois, and the No. 8 edge and No. 130 overall player nation- ally in the 2025 cycle. Notre Dame offered Burgess on Pot of Gold Day last March 17, a St. Patrick's Day-themed recruiting event. About 65 recruits in the 2025 class reported new Irish offers that day. Burgess is one of three Chicago-area players committed to the Irish in the 2025 cycle. The Irish also picked up previous pledges from two prospects in Elmhurst, Ill., a Chicago suburb: York Community defensive lineman Joseph Reiff and Im- maculate Conception Catholic Prep line- backer Dominik Hulak. Reiff and Hulak are both three-star prospects. Burgess expressed intrigue in the Irish five months before Notre Dame formal- ized its interest in the standout lineman. He traveled to South Bend on Oct. 15, 2022, when the Irish hosted Stanford. Then, Burgess returned to campus on March 25, eight days after he reported his Notre Dame offer. Since then, he has made it to every major Irish recruiting event. Burgess was in South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game April 22, the Irish Inva- sion camp June 4, the Grill & Chill cook- out July 30, the Ohio State game Sept. 23 and junior day Jan. 21. His mother ac- companied him to Notre Dame when the Irish hosted the Buckeyes. It was the only college visit she had attended. Burgess reported five visits to Michi- gan and four each to Illinois and Ohio State. Wisconsin hosted him twice. He also once visited Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Tennessee and Colorado. Burgess never saw Alabama or LSU, two of his finalists. Despite being among the most coveted edge rushers in the 2025 recruiting class, Burgess did not begin playing football until his freshman year. Still, he drew Power Five interest im- mediately. His father took him to col- lege football camps before he started high school classes. By the time his sophomore season began, Illinois offered. Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri, Auburn, Washing- ton, Texas A&M, Southern California, Miami, Oregon and Florida are among the schools that offered him before his pledge to the Irish. Burgess had high expectations for his junior season. However, an injury lim- ited him to just six games — only three of which he played healthy. He played with a club on his right hand in the final three outings. Still, he recorded 24 stops, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recov- eries and 1 pass breakup. The Chicago Public League named Burgess to their All-Public League first team after his junior campaign. It was his first time earning a spot on the list. If Burgess signs with Notre Dame, he will be just the third recruit the Irish have landed from the Chicago Public League since the internet recruiting era began in 2002. The Irish previously inked Chicago Hubbard four-star running back Robert Hughes (2007) and Chicago Morgan Park four-star quarterback Demetrius Jones (2006). ✦ Notre Dame Edges Out Nation's Elite For Four-Star Pass Rusher COMMITMENT PROFILE CHRISTOPHER BURGESS JR. Burgess, the nation's No. 8 edge and No. 130 overall prospect per On3, committed to Notre Dame over Ohio State, Alabama, LSU and Michigan. PHOTO COURTESY 0N3.COM FILM ANALYSIS "Christopher Burgess definitely has five-star potential. When you see him, you notice he has much room to grow. He has an explosive first step and can get to the quarterback. With more coaching, he can become a great player — an All-American college player — with his frame and ability. "He has good production [at the high school level] but should have great production with his skill set. That will happen in college because he'll get great individual coaching at Notre Dame. Burgess has a really high ceiling — cer- tainly a five-star ceiling. I love him as a player." — Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming

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