Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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Page 44 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 45 BY DAVID MCKINNEY Notre Dame scored another huge recruiting victory in the state of Geor- gia April 24, when Atlanta Marist School safety Kyle Hamilton — who is ranked as three-star athlete by Ri- vals — committed to Notre Dame over Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and several other options. Hamilton's commitment marked the second year in a row Notre Dame has landed a coveted safety prospect from the Atlanta area after sign- ing four-star Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter product Derrik Allen in 2018. The 6-3½, 183-pound Hamilton spent much of March and April visit- ing different programs throughout the country, and he knew after he finished the trips that South Bend was the place for him. "I still wanted to visit Michigan and Georgia to make sure I am cross- ing my T's and dotting my I's, but I knew," he said. "I called the Notre Dame coaches back a few days after I sat in my bed and made my decision. "The opportunities they will pro- vide me are what made the biggest difference." Hamilton, who received a five-star upside grade from Blue & Gold Illus- trated football analyst Bryan Driskell, took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame March 8, and said it was while he was on campus that the Irish grabbed momentum in his recruitment with head coach Brian Kelly, safeties coach Terry Joseph and cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght all playing pivotal roles. "It was definitely during the visit that Notre Dame started to take the lead," he said. "I talked with Coach Joseph, Coach Kelly and Coach Lyght, and they made it seem like they already had a plan together for me. "They see me as one who can come in and compete early for playing time. They made me feel needed in their program." Before he made it home to Georgia the Irish had taken control in Hamil- ton's recruitment. "I left that visit with Notre Dame on top," he said. "It was an amazing experience, and I left feeling good about Notre Dame." Still, more visits were on the hori- zon. Hamilton spent the following several weeks visiting Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia, all of which were making a huge push for his commitment. The in-state Bulldogs were the toughest competi- tion for Hamilton, and a March 31 visit to Georgia's annual G-Day spring game could have spelled trou- ble for the Irish. However, Hamilton said he never got the same feeling on another campus that he did when he visited Notre Dame. "The last few weeks, no matter where I was, I was thinking about Notre Dame," he noted. "I did go back and forth a little at first, but Notre Dame had just stayed in my mind. "I knew it was the place for me." In fact, Hamilton said he knew well before those additional visits that the pick would eventually be Notre Dame. A phone conversation with Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea helped bring his decision into focus. "On a random Sunday [April 1], it really became clear to me that Notre Dame was the school" Hamilton said. "I had just gotten off the phone with Coach Lea, and I was just sitting there in my bed, thinking to myself about how Notre Dame is a great school, how it could provide me a lot of op- portunities and I couldn't think of one reason why I shouldn't go there. "I made up my mind then that that is where I wanted to go." With his recruitment behind him, Hamilton isn't planning any more visits, other than another trip to South Bend for an official visit to watch Notre Dame take on Michigan Sept. 1. Now, Hamilton can head into his senior season at Marist with nothing but football to worry about, knowing that his future home is waiting for him at Notre Dame. "It is just the perfect fit for me," the first-team Georgia Sport Writers As- sociation 4A All-State selection last fall said. "It feels great to be commit- ted to Notre Dame and there is a real sense of pride that comes with this. I am excited." ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths The first thing that stands out about Kyle Hamilton is his incredible length; he checked in at 6-3½ at the Nike Football The Opening Regional in Atlanta March 25 … Plays with excellent balance, and his foot quickness is top-notch … Makes fluid and easy movements on the football field, and he covers a lot of ground on the back end … Shows good clos- ing speed, and his overall game speed will continue to improve as he matures … Physical run defender that takes good angles to the football … Can play hash to hash as a deep middle defender. Areas For Improvement Needs to keep filling out his thin frame and adding weight and strength … In the pass game, he tends to play the ball instead of the route, which can be corrected … Will have to work on wrapping up better and not always going for the big hit. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE KYLE HAMILTON Irish Pull Another Top Safety From Atlanta Hamilton chose Notre Dame over a final group that included Georgia, Michigan, Clemson, Ohio State, Duke and Northwestern. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM "The last few weeks, no matter where I was, I was thinking about Notre Dame. I did go back and forth a little at first, but Notre Dame has just stayed in my mind. I knew it was the place for me." HAMILTON

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