Notre Dame received its 7th commitment in the 2016 recruiting class today when Jalen Elliott pledged to the Irish. Elliott is listed at 6'1" and 175 pounds; the 247 Composite has him as the #652 overall player, #47 athlete, and #21 player in Virginia. Many analysts consider him severely underrated and his offer list supports that sentiment; in addition to the Irish it includes Auburn, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech, among others. The Auburn and Georgia offers are particularly notable as he just picked them up recently after camping at both schools.
The stunning element of Elliott's commitment is that while his interest in Notre Dame was understood to be sincere, nobody realized it was that high and certainly nobody expected him to commit this weekend. Elliott lives in Virginia, his first offer was from Virginia Tech, and both his parents are both Virginia Tech athletics alums, which makes it all the more shocking. Some reports had Elliott as Tech's top target at defensive back - not a bad get, no?
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, #53 position, #15 in Virginia
247 - 3 star (88 rating), #421 overall, #25 position, #15 in Virginia
ESPN - ungraded/unranked
Scout - 3 star, NR overall, #127 position (WR), #35 in Virginia
247 Composite - 3 star (0.8563 rating), #652 overall, #47 position, #21 in Virginia
While Notre Dame is targeting Elliott as a defensive back, he was also the starting quarterback for his high school last year. He'll definitely be a defensive back at the level, but you like to see that athleticism in guys - guys like Danny Spond and Allen Rossum. One of the great things about Elliott is his versatility; he has the size, speed, and athleticism to play either corner or safety, which gives the staff a lot of options when they decide how to fill out the defensive back segment of this class.
As mentioned above, Elliott is also his high school's quarterback. In fact, he does so much good work at quarterback that it's very hard to find highlight reels of him doing anything but that. I did find one defensive play in the haystack; you can see it at the 2:07 mark of the video. Basically it shows that he can play a good centerfield. What really stands out in all the plays is that Jalen's speed and agility are both exceptional; however raw he may (or may not, I don't know) be, you can coach technique but you can't coach speed:
I think Elliot is most likely to sit and learn next year. He's an excellent athlete, sure, but even with that sitting the season out would help him to focus on class work and learning the ropes of the program.
Long Term / Career
Long-term, Elliot's floor is a solid contributor and his ceiling is as a star player - the athleticism is that good. He needs to pack probably about 20 pounds onto his frame and cross-train at free safety and corner to realize his full potential, but the character is already in the building. Welcome to the family, Jalen!