CJ Carr was born into football.
It should come as no surprise that the quarterback, grandson of Michigan national championship-winning coach Lloyd Carr, has carved out his own path in the world of football. Preparing for Saline High School in Mich., Carr racked up about 20 scholarship offers before going public with her engagement Thursday night.
The next Carr to leave his mark on college football will be at Notre Dame, he said Sports Illustrated this week.
“I think I really connected with the coaching staff as soon as I first arrived on campus,” Carr said of his decision to choose the Fighting Irish. “Every time I went it got better and better.
“I fell in love with the campus, the coaches and the culture, and really everything about Notre Dame.”
The 6’3″, 200-pound prospect in the Class of 2024 hadn’t expected to end the recruiting process so soon, but trips to South Bend have created distance between other contenders like Michigan, the Michigan State and Penn State, while Georgia, Alabama, LSU and other schools have also expanded their offerings.
“I had planned a few trips down south,” Carr says. “I knew I wanted to go to Notre Dame in the early spring, but I also wanted to see what was there, and my dad wasn’t going to let me make a rash decision. We expected to do a few trips down south and looking at some things, but after this recent visit [to Notre Dame]it was kind of like, ‘What do we do?’
“I knew where I wanted to go, and Notre Dame was where I wanted to be for the next three to five years. I think we made the right decision.
Carr, who topped the Class of 2023 quarterback class at a regional Elite 11 camp last month, represents the first quarterback to publicly commit to new Ireland coach Marcus Freeman. Notre Dame had prioritized Michigan’s legacy for some time under Brian Kelly and current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, a former Irish quarterback who was rising through the coaching ranks.
Rees remaining in South Bend, despite opportunities for him to land elsewhere in the wild carousel of college football coaching last year, has played a major role in securing the potential future face of the storied program.
“I think that was the most important thing that we were really looking at…can the quarterback coach develop a quarterback?” Carr said. “I really think Coach Rees can do it and does it for every quarterback in his room right now. I think the way he trains them is great. I like the energy he brings to the quarter room and practices. When we were there for spring training, he was jumping up and down for kicking competition, and that’s not his position group or what he’s worried about, but he was jumping up and down and made it competitive.
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“It’s something that really stood out during the spring visit, and I’m really excited to continue to be there.”
Carr’s last trip to campus gave him the opportunity to rub shoulders with other high-profile engagements and prospects of interest to the Irish. It was also a key aspect to see how he could have such an impact through his commitment from the start.
With the public decision Thursday night, he will attempt to help build the future of the Notre Dame program as a peer recruiter.
“I feel like it was really important to be around all those rookies,” Carr says. “Especially now that I’ve chosen my school, I think recruiting is the most important thing I can do for the program right now. They already have a stellar 2023 [class], and I’m looking to go out there and continue to help build it towards class number one and also have class number one 2024. That’s my overall goal right now. … I think I can really lead Notre Dame to a championship. It takes a bunch of different pieces, and I’m just one piece of that puzzle.
Now that Carr has signed up, he doesn’t want to reveal the prospects he’s been looking for the hardest, but he does know a wide receiver he wants to play with at Notre Dame.
“We’re going to keep this a bit quiet for now,” Carr says with a laugh. “I don’t want these other schools picking on them. One of them is certainly Jack Larsen. He’s my first guy, but the rest we’ll keep quiet for now.
Carr, who threw for about 2,700 yards and 28 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2021, marks Notre Dame’s third Class 24 commitment, joining defensive linemen Brandon Davis-Swain and Owan Wafle.
Matt Ray from VR2 contributed this feature.
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