High School Sports

Bishop Miege’s Jafar Armstrong picks Notre Dame, angering Missouri fans

Bishop Miege wide receiver Jafar Armstrong looked at his teammate cornerback Djimon Colbert, who signed with the University of Iowa, on Wednesday as he signed a letter of intent to play college football for the University of Notre Dame, surrounded by friends and family at the high school's auditorium. The highly recruited player committed in June to attend the University of Missouri but changed his mind on Sunday, switching to the Fighting Irish.
Bishop Miege wide receiver Jafar Armstrong looked at his teammate cornerback Djimon Colbert, who signed with the University of Iowa, on Wednesday as he signed a letter of intent to play college football for the University of Notre Dame, surrounded by friends and family at the high school's auditorium. The highly recruited player committed in June to attend the University of Missouri but changed his mind on Sunday, switching to the Fighting Irish. along@kcstar.com

Bishop Miege senior Jafar Armstrong hit send on his tweet at 10:13 a.m. Sunday. After darkening his phone screen for a few moments, he re-opened the Twitter app and checked his notifications.

The first reply: “You’re no true son!”

He kept scrolling.

“My kids are taught to honor their word. This wouldn’t have happened in our home.”

Scroll.

“No loyalty.”

On they went. Armstrong sent a wave through Midwest college football recruitment Sunday with an announcement that he had de-committed from the Missouri football program. Hours later, he confirmed he would instead be attending Notre Dame —a decision he made official Wednesday, when he signed a letter of intent to play for the Fighting Irish next fall.

“I know Mizzou fans will be mad, but remember I’m 18 years old,” Armstrong said. “No need to come at a kid like that.”

Armstrong, the Kansas high school state-record holder for career receiving touchdowns, committed to Missouri last June. He later called it his dream school.

Notre Dame entered the equation in early January and ultimately convinced Armstrong to make the trip to South Bend, Ind., over the weekend. He made up his mind before the visit was done.

A quick look at what to know about the 2017 college football recruiting classes for Mizzou, K-State and KU ahead of Wednesday's signing day.

“I was committed to Mizzou, but I had to at least visit and see what it was like,” Armstrong said. “I took a visit, and it was just home. The minute I stepped on campus there, I knew I was home.”

The decision was supported by his family, high school coaches and teammates — especially senior Colin Grunhard, who also signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday — but it didn’t sit well with everyone. The stream of replies flowed for more than 24 hours, the influx of support offset by vocal opposition from a handful of Missouri fans.

“I get it,” Armstrong said. “College fans are passionate. Becoming a college football player, you have to expect that. I’m going to be under some scrutiny. I’m going to be under the microscope.

“It is what it is. They’re just fans. It’s just the emotions they had at the time. I’m sure they don’t really mean it. They just love their team and have spirit for their team. That’s where they’re coming from.”

Here’s what he fuss is over: Armstrong (6-1, 185) is the No. 77-ranked recruit in the nation on Rivals, and ESPN senior writer Jeremy Crabtree considered him the top high school football player in Kansas City last fall.

He broke the Kansas state record for most touchdown receptions in a career with 45. In his senior season, he caught 54 passes for 1,277 yards and 21 scores.

“You can find a guy who’s physical or a guy who’s fast — but Jafar has both of those attributes,” Bishop Miege coach Jon Holmes said. “I think that’s what Notre Dame liked when they watched his tape. They saw him pull away from guys, but they also saw him run guys over.

“That’s why everybody wanted him.”

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