Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2018

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

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Page 40 of 55 JANUARY 2018 41 BY DAVID MCKINNEY Notre Dame picked up an impor- tant commitment Dec. 10, when three- star Milpitas (Calif.) High cornerback Tariq Bracy announced his pledge to the Irish via Twitter. Bracy, Rivals' No. 39 athlete nation- ally in the class of 2018, took an offi- cial visit to South Bend Oct. 21 to see Notre Dame's 49-14 drubbing of USC and left campus with the Irish as his leader. The 6-0, 170-pounder briefly enter- tained the idea of staying out west and trying to find a place to play with his brother, but in the end the oppor- tunities Notre Dame presented were too good to pass up. "My parents and my family guided me to make my decision," Bracy said. "For me, it just felt right to pull the trigger." What it came down to was the feel- ing he got when discussing his poten- tial future with the Irish coaching staff and his now fellow commits. "The coaches made me feel wel- come," Bracy said. "They really wanted me to go down there. They like my skill set. The players were welcoming, too. "It's really the whole atmosphere about Notre Dame, and the academ- ics too." Bracy's skill set certainly did catch the eyes of the Irish coaching staff, and for good reason. Notre Dame is recruiting him as a cornerback — which is likely his best position — but the California talent also excels on the other side of the ball. As a senior, Bracy rushed for 1,795 yards (8.6 per rush) and 23 touch- downs. On defense, the two-way star had intercepted 14 passes with one game remaining in his career. During his senior season, he returned three of those picks for touchdowns. The national recruiting services grade Bracy out as a three-star, but Blue & Gold Illustrated football analyst Bryan Driskell believes Bracy is one of the more underrated athletes in the country. Driskell graded Bracy as a four-star recruit, but also noted that Bracy has true five-star potential. Milpitas head coach Kelly King said Bracy's big-time athleticism makes him the player he is. "He's really fluid and smooth," King said. "He's also very physical when he comes up and tackles. He's just a physical guy and a competitor. He wants to win." King said having a player like Bracy was a blessing. "It makes me a better coach," King said. "When you coach great players, you're a better coach. It helps us with a lot of different things." With his recruitment behind him, Bracy will now begin to focus on college and is planning on signing his national letter of intent to Notre Dame during the inaugural early signing period from Dec. 20-22. Bracy is thrilled to have made his decision and be done with the re- cruiting process. "I'm really excited," he said. "A lot of stress is off me, and a lot of weight is off my shoulders. It's just a great moment." According to Bracy, the Notre Dame coaches were just as excited as he was when he told them he wanted to commit. "They were excited, especially coach Brian Polian," Bracy said. "He's been recruiting me since last year and getting the guy you want is really exciting." Now that Bracy is officially part of the class, he'll begin working on bonding with his fellow commits, several of which he already knows well. "I spoke with them when I was on my visit," Bracy said. "A few of the guys have congratulated me on my commitment and said, 'Welcome home.' It's going to be a great place, and I feel welcomed." Bracy is commitment No. 18 for Notre Dame and the second corner- back to join the class, along with North Fort Myers (Fla.) High three- star Joseph Wilkins Jr. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Tariq Bracy is one of the best all-around ath- letes on the board for Notre Dame … With one game left in his prep career, he has rushed for more than 3,900 yards, scored 73 touchdowns and intercepted 14 passes … An explosive ath- lete that shows top-level speed and change of direction ability, which shows up on both sides of the ball … Possesses quick feet and loose hips, which helps him make easy movements as a cornerback, and his size plays better on defense than it does on offense … Also has smooth traits, which are desired in a corner and return man. Areas For Improvement Relies on top-level athleticism as a corner- back, so refinement is needed at the next level … While he shows the instincts needed at the position, he does need to improve his overall technique … A tough player, but he's thin and will need to add more strength. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE TARIQ BRACY California Corner Finds A New Home At Notre Dame Rivals ranks Bracy as the No. 39 athlete nationally in the class of 2018. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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