The biggest need in Notre Dame’s next recruiting class has been halfway met. On Sunday, Rico Flores Jr. from Folsom, Calif., committed to Notre Dame over finalists Ohio State and Georgia, giving the Irish a second receiver pledge in a class that needs four of them.
Flores is a unanimous four-star prospect across the four major networks with a national rankingranging from No. 106 overall on Rivals to No. 266 on On3. He joins the nation’s No. 1 rated recruiting class alongside four-star receiver Braylon James from outside Austin, Texas.
Notre Dame’s needs at receiver are severe this cycle after recent failures in recruiting and development, the results of which leave the Irish offense with five healthy scholarship players at the position heading toward training camp. When the Irish needed to sign at least three receivers last cycle they ended up with just one: four-star Tobias Merriweather from outside Portland.
The Irish don’t have a scholarship receiver in the senior or junior classes following position switches and transfers. This all created a challenge for new receivers coach Chansi Stuckey to solve immediately, not hat this cycle’s recruiting hits will help this season’s roster.
Flores, who also listed offers from Alabama, Stanford and Texas, can still go a long way toward helping the Irish receiver room rebuild long term. Notre Dame’s top remaining targets at receiver are four-star Jaden Greathouse (Austin, Texas) and four-star Ronan Hanafin (Cambridge, Mass.).
Flores has been working toward a career in college football since elementary school when he was already working with a trainer in second grade around Sacramento. He’s since developed into a 6-foot-1, 188-pound athlete who tests around 4.58 in the 40-yard dash and 36 ¼ inches in the vertical jump.
He’s also seen what it takes to make it in college while working out at Game Fit under Lem Adams, who’s also trained Arik Armstead and Shaq Thompson. Flores finished his junior season with 81 catches for 1,157 yards and 12 total touchdowns.
Flores is also Notre Dame’s third commitment in four days, following four-star cornerback Micah Bell and junior receiver Cam Williams. The Irish are also in a strong position for four-star cornerback Christian Gray, who’s scheduled to announce a commitment on Monday, choosing among finalists Notre Dame, USC, LSU and Ohio State.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)