Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2017 Issue

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

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42 MAY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame recently extended an offer to Chase Cota, a four-star wide receiver out of Medford (Ore.) South Medford High. Cota — the No. 34 wide receiver and No. 179 overall prospect in the nation according to Rivals — cur- rently holds 11 offers, including Notre Dame, Oregon, Louisville and USC. According to South Medford head coach Bill Singler, Notre Dame is one of the offers standing out to the four- star junior. "With Notre Dame and USC, he holds two scholarship offers from two of the top schools in the country that play football and have academ- ics," said Singler. "Academics is important to him, so the Notre Dame offer will mean something to him." Cota's father, Chad, confirmed that the Irish would be in the mix for his son. "We're really excited," said the el- der Cota, who played safety at Ore- gon in the early 1990s and spent eight years in the NFL. "He's got a lot of great options out there with some big-time schools with great educa- tion. Notre Dame is up there on the list of where he possibly wants to go to school." Cota made a trip to South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game April 22, and the Irish staff had their first crack on making an impression on the Oregon pass catcher. Notre Dame is looking to add a few more talented receivers in the 2018 class, and Cota certainly fits that de- scription. "He can catch the ball over the middle, he can run under a fade or he can run a hitch route," Singler said. "He's got a huge burst to the outside, and he'll be physical. He's the type of wide receiver who will hit the defen- sive back and run through him." The way he catches the ball stands out for the 6-3, 185-pound Cota. "He doesn't drop balls," Singler said. "He always catches the ball with his hands and runs well with the ball after the catch." Notre Dame will face some fierce competition to land Cota's services from USC, UCLA and Oregon. "Notre Dame will be on the short list," Chad Cota said. "He likes the L.A. schools, too, and the Ducks, too. Staying home could be a possibility." — David McKinney Notre Dame offered one of the na- tion's most productive rising senior running backs last month in Sanford (N.C.) Lee County product Jahmir Smith. The 6-0, 194-pounder rushed for 2,130 yards and 41 touchdowns dur- ing his junior campaign. "The Notre Dame offer meant a lot. My coaches always told me how a Notre Dame offer would be the big- gest," Smith said. "I always thought they only offered the best so to get an offer from them is big. "It felt pretty good. It's been a long process between Notre Dame and me. I'd say the offer is a nice because I didn't expect to be offered by them. The school is great academically and athletically." Irish running backs coach Autry Denson extended the offer and went about it in a different manner. "He called me, my mom and my coach on a three-way call, and asked them for permission to offer and re- cruit me," Smith said. "We have been talking for a while about every day, and he's a cool dude." With an offer in hand, Smith plans to visit Notre Dame, which he now considers one of his standout schools. "I want to plan a visit if possible," he said. "I always look at how they practice, the place they're in and how I would live daily if I were to come. "I would say Notre Dame is high [on my list]. Some schools that stand out are North Carolina, Northwest- ern, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Duke, NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Cal and Princeton." Smith is keeping his eye on a few aspects of those programs in order to make a decision. "I'm looking for a school with great academics, football and overall com- munity," Smith explained. "Academics mostly, but football will be important too." When asked to describe himself as a player Smith said: "I'm a slasher type back. I burst fast, make minimal moves and can break away. I feel I have good vision and fast reaction." Smith — who is rated as the No. 19 prospect in the Tar Heel State and the No. 19 running back nationally by Ri- vals — has taken trips to Wisconsin, Northwestern, North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest and Appala- chian State. Along with Notre Dame, he is looking to visit Cal and Tennessee. — Corey Bodden Sure-Handed Oregon Pass Catcher Reels In Notre Dame Offer North Carolina Ball Carrier Lands Offer From The Irish CHASE COTA ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ South Medford H.S. Medford, Ore. Status: Offered Class: 2018 Position: Wide Receiver Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 185 Rivals Rankings: No. 34 wide receiver and No. 179 overall player in the nation JAHMIR SMITH ✪ ✪ ✪ Sanford, N.C. Lee County H.S. Status: Offered Class: 2018 Position: Running Back Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 194 Rivals Rankings: No. 19 player in North Carolina and No. 19 running back in the country "HE DOESN'T DROP BALLS. HE ALWAYS CATCHES THE BALL WITH HIS HANDS. HE CATCHES THE BALL AND RUNS WELL WITH THE BALL AFTER THE CATCH." MEDFORD (ORE.) SOUTH MEDFORD HEAD COACH BILL SINGLER ON COTA "I'D SAY THE OFFER IS A NINE BECAUSE I DIDN'T EXPECT TO BE OFFERED BY THEM. THE SCHOOL IS GREAT ACADEMICALLY AND ATHLETICALLY." SMITH ON NOTRE DAME

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