Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

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

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Page 40 of 63 APRIL 2017 41 BY COREY BODDEN After signing zero cornerbacks in 2017, Notre Dame made the position a top priority in the 2018 cycle. The Irish got off to a strong start by land- ing one of their top targets — Detroit Cass Tech product Kalon Gervin — on Feb. 13. The 5-11, 180-pounder became commitment No. 7 for the Irish in their 2018 class after publicly an- nouncing his pledge via Twitter, choosing Notre Dame over the likes of Michigan, Florida, LSU, Okla- homa, Michigan State, Penn State and West Virginia. The Irish offered Gervin on Feb. 6, and the situation moved very quickly, with the Motown standout setting up a visit for Notre Dame's Junior Day the weekend of Feb. 10- 12. Gervin knew a commitment to the Irish would be a possibility if all went well during his time in South Bend. He said two factors pushed the Irish above the rest of his potential choices. "The opportunity to play right away. They didn't sign a cornerback this last class," he said. "Also, the education is second to none. It speaks for itself." After talking with head coach Brian Kelly Feb. 11, Gervin knew he wanted to be Irish. "Coach Kelly said this school is for me," he said. "From the education to football, I fit. He made me feel like I was at home. "I told him [on Feb. 11] I wanted to commit. I called him [the next day], so he could talk to my mom." The coaching staff's care for their players caught the attention of Gervin while he was on the visit. "The coaches all look out for you and help everybody with anything," he said. "You want coaches that care and not coaches that don't care. I want a coach that is going to help me become a great guy." Gervin had meetings with both de- fensive coordinator Mike Elko and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght during his time in South Bend. Their message to the junior cornerback was simple. "They wanted me. They said I'm a top priority," Gervin said. "They see me playing field cornerback the first year and boundary cornerback the next. Both are great people. I love them." Lyght's background and success in college and the NFL is also intriguing to Gervin. "Knowing who you're going to be coached by is important," Gervin said. "Coach Lyght will get me ready for the next level." Despite having offers from in-state programs Michigan and Michigan State, Gervin said going to college out of state "was never a problem." When he arrives in South Bend, he believes he will bring cover skills and speed. "Complete shutdown corner," Gervin said when asked to describe his game. "The fans can expect a laid- back cat. I'm a very cool guy." Landing Gervin added another major piece to Notre Dame's junior class. He was the second Rivals100 member, joining Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, and the fifth four-star prospect. Ri- vals rates Gervin as the No. 2 player in Michigan, and the No. 12 corner- back and No. 100 overall prospect nationally. Last fall, Gervin helped Cass Tech to a perfect 14-0 season and a Di- vision I state championship. He re- corded 36 tackles and an interception during his junior campaign. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Kalon Gervin has good size, but his long arms give him the ability to play bigger … Has strong and fast hands, and he already knows how to use them as a weapon … Physical at the line of scrimmage and does a very good job staying locked onto receivers throughout the route … A quality athlete that possesses quick feet and loose hips, and his change of direction is impressive … Though a bit on the skinny side, is physical and plays with an attitude … Has impressive instincts and makes strong reads on the football field … His ability to reach the quar- terback and then drive on the football allow him to make a lot of plays on the few passes that actually come his way. Areas For Improvement What he lacks compared to other elite cor- nerbacks is top-level speed and explosiveness … As a result, his margin for error is narrower and he must be on top of his technique at all times … Also must learn to stay light on his feet at the snap — he has a tendency to be flat footed at the start of a play. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE KALON GERVIN Education, Early Action Lead Detroit Corner To Notre Dame Rivals rates Gervin as a four-star talent, the No. 2 prospect in Michigan, and the No. 12 cornerback and No. 100 overall player nationally. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM/NICK LUCERO "COACH [BRIAN] KELLY SAID THIS SCHOOL IS FOR ME. FROM THE EDUCA- TION TO FOOTBALL, I FIT. HE MADE ME FEEL LIKE I WAS AT HOME." GERVIN

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