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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2023 Notre Dame Target Sharif Denson "Everything You Want In CB"

May 17, 2021

Chad Parker’s initial thoughts on Sharif Denson‍ are understated.

“He's a good one,” the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Bartram Trail High School says of the 2023 Florida cornerback.

But it doesn’t take Parker long to expand on his thoughts.

“He's got everything that you want in a corner,” Parker says. “He's got length. He's physical. A lot of people don't know that he's a varsity wrestler, so he's got that physicality. He's competitive.

“He's a high-academic kid. He's a 3.7 GPA. He's a smart kid. He's got a good football IQ. He's everything you want in a football player.”

Not surprisingly, Denson checks the boxes off the field too, according to Parker.

“He works his tail off,” the coach says. “He has that mindset where he wants to be the best and he's been like that ever since he came in. The first camp I ever took him to, after he was enrolled in the school, we took him to a camp at FAU and they offered him at the camp before his ninth grade year. He kind of blew up from there.

“Him and my stepson are real good friends. He lives right around the corner from me. He comes over to the house all of the time. I have twin little eight-year-old girls. He's not too cool to spend time with them. He always thanks my wife, helps clean up. He's high character.”

Parker has been coaching for almost two decades now and says Denson is the first kid who has offered him hand-written thank you notes at the end of each season.

“That goes a long way,” he says. “That just shows you that he's raised right and his parents have done a good job with him and that when we do our character curriculum stuff that he buys in and really listens to the things that we're teaching him. He's phenomenal.

“He takes time with people. He doesn't try to big-time people. He doesn't act like he's better than them. In the weight room, he's a monster. He runs track.”

Notre Dame extended an offer to Denson last week.

“He's pretty excited,” says Parker. “We've had a bunch of kids get Oklahoma offers, Florida, Florida State. We've had a bunch of those, but since I've been at Bartram - and this is going into year number eight for me - we've only had one other kid get a Notre Dame offer. That kind of separates you. That's when you know that you're an elite prospect.”

Parker says former elite quarterback target Joey Gatewood, who was in the 2018 recruiting class, was the last Bartram Trail player to receive an Irish offer.

“We've had some big-time guys, but he's the only other one to get a Notre Dame offer,” Parker says. “So our kids hold that in a high regard. That's kind of like the sought-after Holy Grail, you know? Ohio state, Notre Dame, those are ones that our kids don't really get being down here in Florida.

“There's not many kids walking around with Notre Dame offers down in North Florida… It's kind of hard to pull South Florida or Florida kids out of the state of Florida. But like I said, our kids hold them in a high regard because it is such a rare thing down here and it makes them feel good and important. Now, you know you're on a national stage and guys are really starting to recruit you.”

Parker says he’s “sure” Denson will give Notre Dame a serious look.

“Notre Dame is a competitive program,” the coach says. “They expect to compete for a national championship every year. Whether they do or not, they expect it and it's kind of like us. We expect to play for a state championship every year whether we do or not and then, the academic standards of Notre Dame. There's just something special about that gold helmet. I guarantee you he'll put it up there at the top of his list.”

Denson will hit the road soon to see a bunch of schools, including the in-state powers and now they’ll see if there’s a way to work South Bend into the itinerary too.

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