C.J. Carr was born into the game of football.
It should come as little surprise the quarterback, grandson of national-championship-winning Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, has carved out a path of his own in the football world. Prepping at Saline (Mich.) High School, Carr amassed some 20 scholarship offers before going public with a commitment on Thursday evening.
The next Carr to make his mark on college football will do so at Notre Dame, he told Sports Illustrated this week.
“I think I really connected with the coaching staff right when I got on campus for the first time,” Carr says of his decision to choose the Fighting Irish. “Each and every time I visited there, it continuously got better and better.
“I fell in love with the campus, the coaches and the culture, and really just everything about Notre Dame.”
The 6’3″, 200-pound class of 2024 prospect did not plan on ending the recruiting process this early, but the trips to South Bend created distance between other contenders like Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, while Georgia, Alabama, LSU and other schools also extended offers.
“I had planned a few southern trips,” Carr says. “I knew I wanted to go to Notre Dame in the early spring, but I also kind of wanted to see what was out there, and my dad was not going to let me make a rash decision. We expected to take some trips down south and look some things over, but after this recent visit [to Notre Dame], it was kind of like, ‘What are we doing?’
“I knew where I wanted to go, and Notre Dame was the place I wanted to be at for the next three to five years. I think we made the right decision.”
Carr, who outshone class of 2023 quarterbacks at an Elite 11 regional camp last month, represents the first quarterback to publicly pledge to new Irish coach Marcus Freeman. Notre Dame had been prioritizing the Michigan legacy for some time under Brian Kelly and current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, a former Irish quarterback ascending up the coaching ranks.
Rees staying in South Bend, despite opportunities for him to land elsewhere in the wild college football coaching carousel last year, played a major role in securing the potential future face of the storied program.
“I think that was the biggest thing we were really looking at … can the quarterback coach develop a quarterback?” Carr says. “I really think coach Rees can do that and is doing that will all of the quarterbacks in his room right now. I think the way he coaches them is awesome. I love the energy he brings to the quarterback room and the practices. When we were there for the spring practice, he was jumping up and down for the kicker competition, and that is not his position group or what he is worried about, but he was jumping up and down and making it competitive.
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“That was something that really stood out in the spring visit, and I am really excited to continue to be around.”
Carr’s most recent trip to campus afforded him the opportunity to be around other top commitments and prospects the Irish are interested in. It was also a key aspect in seeing how he could make such an impact by commitment early on.
With the decision public Thursday evening, he will attempt to help build the future of the Notre Dame program as a peer recruiter.
“I feel like it was really big to be around all of those recruits,” Carr says. “Especially now that I have chosen my school, I think recruiting is the biggest thing I can do for the program right now. They already have a stellar 2023 [class], and I am looking to go in there and continue to help build it towards the number one class and also have the number one 2024 class. That is 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 am just one piece to that puzzle.”
Now that Carr is committed, he does not want to tip his hand on which prospects he is going after the hardest, but he knows one pass-catcher he wants to play alongside at Notre Dame.
“We are going to keep that a little quiet right now,” Carr says while laughing. “I don’t want any of these other schools going after them. One for sure is Jack Larsen. That is my first guy, but the rest we are going to keep quiet for now.”
Carr, who threw for about 2,700 yards and 28 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2021, marks the third commitment for Notre Dame’s ’24 class, joining defensive linemen Brandon Davis-Swain and Owan Wafle.
VR2‘s Matt Ray contributed to this feature.
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