Notre Dame football fans received some excellent news tonight, as 2019 4-star linebacker JD Bertrand has verbally committed to the Fighting Irish. The 6-1/220 pounder out of Roswell, GA is the 21st commit in Notre Dame football’s recruiting class of 2019 (22nd if you also want to count PWO kicker Harrison Leonard).
— JD Bertrand (@JDBertrand1) November 19, 2018
This was looking for a while like a situation where Notre Dame had a kid who really wanted to be Irish, but maybe there wouldn’t be room for him. I know some of you have been fretting over the size of this recruiting class and whether or not Notre Dame would have enough scholarships to go around next year. Well, it looks like JD decided to take matter into his own hands and commit to the Irish — despite reports at this time saying that he doesn’t yet hold a scholarship offer from Notre Dame.
That’s right. A 4-star athlete loves the University of Notre Dame so much that he has decided to commit to playing football in South Bend whether or not a scholarship will be immediately available to him.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals — 4 star (5.8 rating), #247 overall, #12 ILB, #29 in GA
ESPN — 4 star (80 rating), NR overall, #26 OLB, #40 in GA
247Sports — 4 star (91 rating), #234 overall, #15 OLB, #25 in GA
247Sports Composite — 4 star (.8984), #315 overall, #17 OLB, #14 in GA
JD chose the Irish over other offers from Georgia, Wisconsin, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Stanford, and many others.
He was previously committed to Georgia, and the Irish quickly got in touch with him after his de-commitment. The biggest competition at the end appeared to be Wisconsin.
JD is your classic run-stuffing linebacker. His film will occasionally show him dropping back into coverage, but it mostly consists of clips of him heading downhill and meeting the ball carrier at the line — hard. His athleticism isn’t going to wow anyone, but he makes quick reads and has the excellent ability of being able to diagnose where the play is heading almost immediately after the snap. And when he meets the opposing player at the line, he hits hard and with textbook form.
This is a solid pickup for Notre Dame. The proven depth at linebacker after this season ends is… Not ideal. Tranquill and Coney, probably the best leaders on this defense, will be gone. Bilal will still have eligibility, but after that, who do we know will step up? I mean, we can speculate about the potential of a guy like Shayne Simon, but he’s yet to see any significant number of snaps to this point.
More numbers at linebacker means better odds that someone will be there to step up in the future. And JD Bertrand is no slouch. His ceiling is probably lower than all of the other LB commits in the Class of 2019, but his floor is probably higher than most of them as well. And the Irish haven’t even used a scholarship on him to this point, either.
But I’d expect that to work itself out sooner rather than later. JD might not have his scholarship in hand when he signs his LOI, but with the usual attrition I wouldn’t be too surprised if he’s got it before fall camp starts. And I hope it works out for him, too. It says a lot about the character of a kid when he decides to make the best decision for himself, even if it may not be the easiest path to success.
Welcome to the Irish family, JD!