The safety-turned-receiver says he has the ball skills to fill in the open slot position.
NOTRE DAME — CJ Prosise got a two day notification that he’d be flipping sides of the field entering into spring practice.
Like Troy Niklas, Matthias Farley and Bennett Jackson before him, Prosise is the latest Notre Dame player crossing over and expected to make an immediate impact on the opposite side of the field.
The sophomore wasn’t exactly surprised when coaches told him he’d be moving from safety to receiver, though. He had spent the latter half of last season playing receiver on the Notre Dame scout team.
But with the graduation of Robby Toma, the departure of rising star Davonte Neal in March and a spring injury to Amir Carlisle, Prosise found himself taking first-team reps at slot receiver during spring practice.
“They told me I was looking good at receiver,” Prosise said his coaches told him. “Catching the football has always kind of been a natural thing to me. I knew I had some skill at the position and that I could perform.”
The 6-foot, 220-pound Prosise was recruited as a safety in the 2012 class but didn’t see the field as a freshman. A four-year commitment to receiver could help fill the receiver void the Irish have been facing since the departure of Michael Floyd.
Unlike Farley and Jackson, Prosise isn’t a total greenhorn at his new spot. He played some receiver for Woodberry Forest High School in Woodberry Forest, Va., as a junior and senior.
“In high school, I played safety,” Prosise said. “I went on offense just because I was the best athlete on the team and was just trying to get the ball, working to help the team out. (The move is) definitely a good choice for me.”
Prosise was initially told he’d cross-train at receiver and safety, but he says he hasn’t played any safety this spring. Nor has he heard if he’ll be staying at receiver. Either way, he just wants to be on the field.
“I want to play,” he said. “That’s what I came here to do, to play,and if receiver is the best opportunity to play, I’ll play receiver.”
Prosise was on display during the media’s full practice viewing on Saturday, April 13. While he dropped a few wide-open looks from Everett Golson, the two connected for a moment of brilliance when Golson scrambled and hit a wide-open Prosise cutting back across the field.
Prosise blew past 2012 starters cornerback KeiVarae Russell and safety Matthias Farley and streaked 40 yards for a touchdown, drawing cheers from the whole team.
“He’s just learning,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “When we moved him outside today, that’s the first time he’s had to put his foot in the ground and look around for a ball. His development is coming along. I don’t think he needs glasses. I think he’ll catch the ball. It was pretty evident that he’s going to be a pretty good player. He just needs a lot of work.”