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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2022 Notre Dame S Target Xavier Nwankpa Traits "Very Rare"

March 27, 2021

Even though his team had dropped out of the tournament, Xavier Nwankpa‍ was still booked to travel to Arizona last month, so the 2022 Iowa safety hit up his friend, Kyion Grayes from Arizona to see if there was a chance he could play with Grayes’ squad, Tucson Turf.

As one of the top defensive back prospects in the country, it’d seem like a no-brainer, but Tucson Turf head coach Toby Bourguet wanted to check more boxes than just on-field ability.

“We did a little research and we said, 'Yeah,’” Bourguet says. “We don't take on kids just because of ratings. We take on kids that are going to be a part of what we do. He met that criteria and he hasn't let us down. He blends real well with our group. He came on and just immediately, kids took to him. He didn't try to make a lot of waves.

“He's our kind of guy. We really like him around. My son Treyson is the quarterback, he and Treyson they became close real quick. He just seems like a great kid. We haven't had any issues with him.”

On the field, Nwankpa has certainly impressed after playing in that tournament and another a few weeks later in New Orleans.

“The size and explosiveness that he brings to the field is very rare,” says Bourguet. “It's very rare. When he breaks, he covers a lot of ground and he's a big powerful kid. So, when he attacks the ball, guys tend to change their trajectory in the air. He aggressively seeks the ball is the best way I can put it.

“There's been a few kids like that, Lathan Ransom was about the same size, big, athletic kid. He reminds me of Lathan a lot.”

And Bourguet believes those off-the-field traits could provide a good match for Nwankpa and a school like Notre Dame, which is heavily in pursuit.

“He's not a me, me, me guy because that's just not the type of a program that we run, just like Notre Dame,” the coach says. “He blends well with the kids and that's the most important part. A lot of kids are good kids on the field, but they're not our type of guys, but he actually is. He's our type of guy.”

Over the last couple days, Nwankpa locked in a pair of official visits; one to Ohio State and one to South Bend.

“He seems like somebody who's got a little class to him, so I think a team like Notre Dame would be a fit for him and they're in contention every year, so that's always nice.”

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