Notre Dame’s 2020 class added its third defensive back today when Caleb Offord announced his pledge to the Irish. The 6’1″, 173-pound prospect will be the first Mississippian on the roster since receiver Jay Johnson, whose final season was 2000 (one year after Tupelo product Jarious Jackson exhausted his eligibility, if you’re wondering). Notre Dame made a big impression on Offord when he camped in June, enough so that he took an official just two weeks later. It was abundantly clear at that point that this was Notre Dame’s race to lose.
Offord didn’t draw any serious interest from Ole Miss or Mississippi State, which concerns some Irish fans. I understand that and it’s a bit of a question mark for me too, but on the other hand defensive back recruiting is a little different. If you have a staff that can coach the position – and I think it’s quite clear Notre Dame does – then athletic ability and scheme fit are far more important than a pre-filled technical toolbox that draws universal attention. Of course I’d rather have a class of all five-star DBs than none, but it’s possible to have a good secondary without those guys too. The Irish defensive staff wants long, fluid athletes at corner, and Offord certainly fits that description.
— 🧸🏝⁵ (@caleb_offord) July 4, 2019
Recruiting Service Rankings
247Sports Composite — 3 star (.8702), #595 overall, #45 CB, #14 in MS
247Sports — 3 star (88 rating), #530 overall, #43 CB, #10 in MS
Rivals — 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, NR WR, #10 in MA
ESPN — 3* (78 rating), NR overall, #41 CB, #12 in MS
Irish Sports Daily — 3 star (89 rating)
In addition to Notre Dame, Caleb Offord holds offers from Arkansas, Duke, Louisville, Purdue, and Vandy, among others.
I like Offord’s tape a lot, and I can see why the staff wanted him: he showcases outstanding versatility throughout. For example:
- Play 1 – Press man coverage – Not a great press but excellent coverage; he flips his hips easily to stay glued to his man through a double move and gets the pick
- Play 2 – Off coverage – Reads the screen pass quickly and fires past the blocker to disrupt the play
- Play 3 – Man coverage – Mirrors his man beautifully and ends up with a pick that looks like he was the receiver on the play
- Play 4 – Zone coverage – Reads the tight end releasing underneath and gets under him to knock the pass away
- Play 5 – Man coverage – Skies to bat away a high throw
You get the idea. He certainly has stuff he needs to work on; primarily I think he needs to add bulk to be able to more effective in press and run support. The good news there is that he already shows good tenacity and instincts there, particular in recognizing run plays and fighting off blocks. He doesn’t have elite speed – he ran a 4.6 40 at the Atlanta Opening regional in May – which is probably a big contributor to his lower ranking. He has a lot of good traits though, including a frame and athleticism that you can’t teach.
Caleb Offord will likely be able to redshirt in 2020, affording him the chance to learn and work in the weight room. Going forward, I think he can grow to be an effective field corner or perhaps even a free safety. He is by all accounts a smart and hard-working kid, and he has some very good physical attributes. Exactly when he might become a front-line contributor I don’t know, but I think he has that potential. I’m very interested to see what Todd Lyght (and/or Terry Joseph) can do here.
Welcome to the Irish family, Caleb!