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A Conversation with Jerome Bettis Jr. - The Next Bus Driver

Updated: Jun 28

Written by: Jhett Garrett Writer Twitter/X: @JhettGarrett

Photo via Jerome Bettis Jr., X


 “It’s a blessing to be able to put on the Notre Dame jersey regardless, but when you add the fact that it’s the same jersey my dad wore, it makes it even more special.”

Jerome Bettis Jr., Class of 2025 WR Commit


Many football fans may be familiar with his father, Jerome Bettis Sr., a former first-round pick, six-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl Champion. During his time in the NFL, Bettis Sr. rushed for 13,662 yards and 91 touchdowns, which was more than good enough to get him selected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015. Now, there is someone new driving the bus, and he is committed to his father’s former school.  


Jerome Bettis Jr. is in the class of 2025 and committed to the Irish back in March of this year. Standing at 6’2" and 190 pounds, the 3-Star receiver from Atlanta, Georgia, is looking to make an impact at his dad’s alma mater. In his junior season at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Bettis Jr. caught 30 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns, while also reeling in two interceptions and totaling 34 tackles on the defensive side of the ball. All of this was on the way to a 6A Georgia state championship in his third year of high school.





Notre Dame was the first school to offer Bettis Jr. back on March 17th, 2023, however, he would later receive offers from Tulane, Ole Miss, Duke, Louisville, as well as many others. Exactly one year to the day of his first offer, he would commit to Marcus Freeman and the Irish.

“Their message to me is that they want me to be a part of their team and help them achieve their goal of winning a national championship... They emphasized that they recruited me for me, and not my father.”

Freeman wasn’t the only member of the Notre Dame staff that helped bring Bettis Jr. to South Bend. New to the Notre Dame coaching staff in 2024 is wide receiver coach Mike Brown, who has also helped land Elijah Burress and Dylan Faison.


“I’ve gotten to know Coach Brown pretty well, and through getting to talk to him, I can tell he loves the game of football and he’s the perfect person to teach it to. His enthusiasm and energy when coaching is great to see, and I can’t wait to learn from him.”

While some commits need that feeling of energy to motivate them to commit to a school, Bettis Jr. had already been conditioned to the Notre Dame way. After all, it was the campus that saw his father collect 2,341 yards from scrimmage. It was the campus where his father scored 33 total touchdowns and became a first-round draft pick in the NFL. And more recently in 2022, it was the place where his father graduated from college.


“To be honest, there wasn’t really a feeling because, to me, it’s always been home. I’ve been there so many times since I was young that it just felt right, and I always knew that’s where I wanted to be."




However, one of the things that Bettis Jr. enjoyed the most during his recruiting process was the feeling that he was making the decision, and not his parents. When discussing if there was any pressure to commit to Notre Dame because of his father, Bettis Jr. said:


“They actually made sure that I was able to go through the process the same as anyone else.”

He had the opportunity to tour campuses such as Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State. There has arguably never been a better time for a wide receiver to put on the navy and gold. With quarterbacks such as CJ Carr and Kenny Minchey already on campus, and with Deuce Knight and Noah Grubbs on the way, wide receivers will dream of playing in South Bend.


“I’ve gotten to play with Deuce a little already and I’ve seen what CJ has done through his first semester, so I can’t wait.”

With elite-level talent continuing to come in, Notre Dame fans are just as excited. Jerome Bettis Jr. is one of the 21 commits in the 2025 Notre Dame recruiting class that is ranked second in the nation. One of the most important parts of Bettis Jr.’s commitment to the Irish is life after football.


“My message (to recruits) would be that football ends, you have to know your next step. Notre Dame is the perfect place to find that next step.”

The next step for Jerome Bettis Jr. is his senior year of high school before arriving on campus in South Bend. As he continues his quest for another state championship, Notre Dame fans across the country await his arrival for the first time as a player.


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