Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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62 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER N otre Dame is off to a fast start as it looks to build a truly elite 2021 recruiting class. The Fighting Irish's 2020 class has big-time offensive weapons, but isn't as strong in the defensive back- field and doesn't have a linebacker. The 2021 commit list already has dynamic weapons for offensive co- ordinator Tommy Rees, and there are a couple of solid pledges for the Irish defensively. When it comes to Notre Dame football recruiting, the question is always asked: Will the 2021 class push the Irish closer to a national championship? It's too early to answer that right now, but head coach Brian Kelly's squad has highly regarded prospects committed and is in favorable posi- tion with many of its top targets. Notre Dame added 17 high school prospects in the last recruiting class, and the Irish may be in the teens once again in 2021. These things are always subject to change, however. The current class size projection is anywhere between 16 on the small end and 21 on the high end. QUARTERBACK Players On The 2021 Roster: 2 Projected Take: 1 Notre Dame has one of the na- tion's best quarterbacks committed in the 2021 class. La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop's School gunslinger Tyler Bu- chner picked the Fighting Irish in the spring of 2019 over Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon, USC and many others. Buchner suffered a season-ending knee injury early during the first game of his sophomore year, and it was unknown if he'd be the same player when he came back. Notre Dame continued to recruit the 6-2, 210-pounder hard despite the injury and it paid off with his commitment. During his junior season, Buchner showed that he was completely healthy and is better than ever. He threw for 4,474 yards and 53 touchdowns, while adding 1,610 yards and 28 scores on the ground. Buchner was the first junior since former USC Trojans star Reggie Bush to win the 2019 Silver Pigskin Award, given to the top player in the San Diego area. He was also named to the 2019 MaxPreps High School Junior All-American Football Team after his stellar year. Buchner, who is ranked as the na- tion's No. 44 overall recruit per Ri- vals, led The Bishop's School to a perfect record before falling in the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section Division II cham- pionship game. Buchner plans to enroll early at Notre Dame, and he'll look to com- pete for the starting job as a true freshman. RUNNING BACK Players On The 2021 Roster: 6 Projected Take: 1-2 Arguably the most coveted recruit on Notre Dame's 2021 recruiting board, regardless of position, is Mat- thews (N.C.) Weddington running back Will Shipley. Notre Dame run game coordina- tor Lance Taylor extended an offer to Shipley in May 2019, and at that point he became a huge target for the Fighting Irish. During the pe- With the commitment of La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop's School quarterback Tyler Buchner, the nation's No. 44 overall prospect according to Rivals, Notre Dame has its gunslinger of the future. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM A Look Ahead At The Class Of 2021

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