Priest Willis Sets Decision Date: Why Notre Dame Is Best Choice for 5-Star DB

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIINovember 20, 2012

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

5-star cornerback Priest Willis is one of the premier defensive back recruits in the recruiting class of 2013, and while we don't yet know where he will commit to play college football, he has set the date for when he makes his decision.

According to Rob Cassidy of, Arizona State, UCLA, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, LSU and Florida State are all in the running for his commitment.

Cassidy also reports that Willis will announce his decision at the Under Armour All-American game:

"There are things of which Priest Willis is absolutely certain. His college choice isn't one them. He does, however, have a decision date planned. The backdrop? That's been decided, too. Willis, a coveted four-star cornerback at Tempe, Arizona's Marcos de Niza High School, will announce his commitment on Jan. 5 at the Under Armour All-American game in St. Petersburg, Fla."

Willis has a very impressive interest list that features some elite programs, but there's one school that stands out among the group that is undoubtedly his best fit: Notre Dame.

At 6'2'', 200 pounds (247Sports), and ranked as the No. 6 cornerback in the 247Sports composite rankings, Willis has the potential to be an elite defensive back at the college level.  He has the size to be a lock-down corner, as he should be able to jam receivers at the line and stick with them in coverage with his speed (4.42 40 according to He's also extremely physical against the run.

Willis is really an all-around corner prospect, and he could fit any system in college football, so what makes Notre Dame his best fit?

The Fighting Irish are currently 11-0, ranked No. 1 in the BCS and have a great shot at playing in the BCS Championship game. Brian Kelly's team has played above and beyond expectations, and much of their success can be attributed to their defense. The defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation, only giving up 10.1 points per game, and much of that is thanks to an incredibly aggressive and dominant front seven—led by linebacker Manti Te'o.

For as good as the defense has been, the one place they need to get stronger is in the secondary, and that's especially true when considering depth for the next few years.

Kelly has done a great job of recruiting 3-star defensive back Devin Butler and 4-star corner Cole Luke, but they have yet to find that truly elite player that can be a stalwart in their defensive backfield for years to come.

Willis can be that player for Notre Dame. The need is there, and he fits the description.

There's also the fact that the Fighting Irish can offer Willis a chance to play on a defense that is only going to get better as this new class integrates itself into the system.

Kelly's 2013 class features 5-star linebacker Jaylon Smith—who's going to be a star—and 4-star linebacker Alex Anzalone. With those two linebackers coming in, the defensive front seven will continue to thrive and be dominant, and any corner will tell you that playing behind a dominant group of defensive lineman and linebackers makes their life much easier in the secondary.

With the talent that he'd have in front of him, Willis could really thrive and be an elite defender for Notre Dame, and they'd be setting themselves up for a few more years of dominant defensive play if they can add him into their 2013 class.

The fit is rather obvious. Notre Dame needs an elite corner, and they can provide Willis with a great squad to play on, plus a resurgent program that is on the verge of greatness.

With schools like Oklahoma, LSU, Florida State and Nebraska on his list, amongst others, it's going to be a tough decision for the 5-star defensive back.

When taking a look at all the Fighting Irish has to offer him though, that decision should become infinitely easier.

Notre Dame is the best choice for Priest Willis.

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