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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

Five-star safety Peyton Bowen flips to Oregon

In a painful last-minute flip for Irish fans, five-star safety Peyton Bowen, the headliner of the Irish 2023 recruiting class, flipped to Oregon when he signed his letter of intent on National Signing Day.

When you heard that the Irish were bringing in a player who “could have a similar trajectory” as first-round draft pick Kyle Hamilton, according to Rivals Notre Dame recruiting analyst Kyle Kelly, it was only natural to get excited. No player in Notre Dame’s recruiting class, which ranked fourth in the country prior to the de-commitment according to Rivals, ranks higher than Peyton Bowen. Only Alabama commit Caleb Downs is rated higher among safeties in the entire country. Bowen is the position’s only other five-star recruit.

Alabama was one of the numerous programs, including LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and other top-tier schools, to offer to Bowen, who first verbally committed to the Irish on Jan. 1. The Denton, Texas, native would have been Notre Dame’s first five-star recruit on defense since linebacker Daelin Hayes in 2016.

Ahead of the flip, Kelly discussed what Bowen could have brought to Notre Dame.

“This is a guy they could have a difficult time keeping off the field,” said Kelly. “He’s an extremely dynamic defensive back… he’s a guy that played down in Texas, so that’s some pretty high competition. There’s obviously going to be a learning curve for any high school prospect, but I think Peyton Bowen is a little ahead of that curve with that experience and skillset.”

The Irish still have a strong safety and overall recruiting class. Ben Minich and Adon Shuler, both four-stars, signed on early on Wednesday morning, offering the Irish some talented insurance policies after Bowen’s decision left them in the lurch.

Contact Andrew McGuinness at amcguinn@nd.edu.