Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Intelligence, Versatility Helped Make Match Between Caleb Offord & Notre Dame

August 2, 2019
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Caleb Offord‍ had always been a really good football player, but he was a good basketball player as well.

And when the 2020 cornerback decided to dedicate himself and focus on football, he became a really, really good player.

“As a player, you saw his rapid development from his sophomore to his junior year,” Adrian Steele told Irish Sports Daily.

Steele is Offord’s uncle and also runs the Gas Crew 7-on-7 program in Alabama.

“He put in work all offseason,” Steele said of Offord. “He was on my first 7-on-7 team and we trained. He put in work all year. He started realizing exactly what he can do. He’s always been a good football player, but he wanted to turn himself into a prospect, so he started putting the work in, honing his technique, paying attention to his keys.

“He camped and drilled all summer and when it was time for the season, he locked in. When he started locking in, he started using that length. He’s 6-2, an extremely long corner. He tackles well and he elevates extremely well. Once he started putting all of the tools he had to work, you started seeing him development as a player.”

Colleges certainly started seeing it and the offers began coming in.

“Duke was the first team to hop on him when they saw him,” Steele said. “Of course, he has the high GPA, so he fit the mold.”

Notre Dame also took notice and after an offer and a pair of visits to South Bend, the Mississippi native announced his commitment to the Irish on The Fourth of July.

“He’s my nephew, so I’m extremely proud of him,” Steele said. “I love the decision he made. He got up to 18, 19 offers. After his first one, he took off. He continues to work and continues to press hard. Notre Dame has a great young man coming up there, a wonderful young man coming up there.

“The thing about him, he takes school extremely serious, which is great about him. “He’s a very smart kid. He’s a smart football player, but he’s very smart off the field. That’s why Notre Dame wasn’t a surprise pick.”

In Steele’s mind, the versatility Offord brings is why he wasn’t surprised the Irish picked him either.

“You can line him up at free safety as well and he can still produce, he tackles and he’s like a quarterback on the back end – but at corner, he can go outside and lock up your receiver,” Steele said. “It’s not an issue with him. You can play him all over the secondary and he’s going to make plays.

“That’s the one thing we saw out of him. As soon as we started developing, we said, ‘Oh, he can play everywhere.’ Especially with the new brand of football, where you can’t be a specialist or an in-the-box safety or a cover corner. He fits every slot when you look at him. He’s got the height and the build with wide shoulders to put on weight if need be.”

Steele always saw the potential in his nephew.

“When you saw him move and backpedal, the tools were there,” he said. “He’s a naturally smooth and light-footed guy. He played point guard before he concentrated on football. He used to be an AAU point guard. Him being a versatile athlete wasn’t a problem, he just had to go ahead and lock completely in on football and say, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do.’”

Offord’s length and leaping ability present problems from opposing receivers and opportunities for his defense.

“Everybody is looking for the length, looking for the pro-type of kid and he’s light-footed,” Steele said.

Aside from the physical tools, Offord always had the attitude and mentality to succeed as well.

“Ever since he was young, he would tackle,” Steele recalled. “When he was five or six years old, he would tackle. He didn’t have a problem hitting somebody. You knew he could tackle, so all you had to do was put the skills that went along with being a football player and it was on.

“I knew he had the mentality. He’s always been a serious kid when it comes to sports. He loves to compete, especially on Friday nights. When he puts his helmet and shoulder pads on, he turns into a different kid.”

Steele expects Offord to get even better when he gets to the next level and fills out his frame.

“I don’t know how much weight he’s going to end up carrying, but of course he’s got the shoulders and the long legs, long arms,” he said. “You can put weight on him and he shouldn’t slow down, especially with the good strength and conditioning program at Notre Dame.

“He’s the type of kid I think should get even faster. He runs well for 6-2 now, but he’s the type of kid I think will get even faster when he puts on more weight and gets even faster. That’s the thing with him, his potential is off the charts.”

 
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