Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2021

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

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60 MARCH 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2021 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY MIKE SINGER N otre Dame's 2021 recruiting class became larger in volume than originally thought. Anticipated to be in the high teens or low 20s, the class was affected by the world of CO- VID-19 and the implementation of a one-time transfer rule. Blue & Gold Illustrated expects a signee group in the 19-22 range for the 2022 cycle. The following is a breakdown of who is committed, who the top tar- gets are and how many players are expected at each position for the Fighting Irish in the 2022 class. QUARTERBACK Committed: 0 Projected Take: 1 Synopsis: In recent years, the trend has been Notre Dame landing early commitments at quarterback, but the NCAA dead period due to the pan- demic has changed that plan. The Irish staff didn't get the all- important spring evaluation period or camp season to see quarterback prospects in person. As a result, of- fensive coordinator Tommy Rees and Co. have had to take a more patient approach to finding the right signal- caller. Last August, Notre Dame offered Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic's Steve Angeli and Owensboro (Ky.) High's Gavin Wimsatt on the same night. Rees has remained in consistent con- tact with both prospects, and the Irish staff would be pleased to land either. Rivals lists both as four-star prospects, but Angeli sits outside the national top 250, while Wimsatt is ranked the No. 54 overall prospect in the country. Notre Dame offered Martin (Tenn.) Westview's Ty Simpson, the nation's No. 36 overall prospect and No. 3 pro-style passer, in late January. But with a Feb. 19 decision date for Simp- son, the Irish were late to the game, and he is expected to land at Ala- bama or Clemson. For now, the safe bet is that Notre Dame lands Angeli, but the Irish are in a strong position for Wimsatt as well. Angeli took a self-guided tour of Notre Dame in December, while Wimsatt is planning to see South Bend soon. Don't be surprised to see other quarterback offers go out in the near future as well. The Irish staff is taking a close look at Medina (Ohio) High's Drew Allar, a three-star player who should be rising up the rankings, and Atlanta Pace Academy's MJ Morris, the No. 129 player and No. 3 dual- threat passer in America, but have not offered either yet. RUNNING BACK Committed: 0 Projected Take: 1-2 Synopsis: Memphis (Tenn.) Chris- tian Brothers' Dallan Hayden, the No. 229 recruit and No. 19 running back per Rivals, and Shillington (Pa.) Governor Mifflin Senior 's Nicholas Singleton, who ranks as the No. 122 prospect and No. 7 ball carrier, sit atop the realistic wish list for Notre Dame running backs coach Lance Taylor. Hayden has a top four of Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and Ten- nessee. Singleton's unofficial group of favorites has consisted of Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State for quite some time. The Irish are also in pursuit of Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Chris- tian's Gavin Sawchuk. Ranked as the No. 41 prospect and No. 1 running back in America, Sawchuk is a per- fect fit for what Taylor likes at run- ning back, but he is considered a long shot for the Irish. Cincinnati La Salle's GiBran Payne is rising up the Notre Dame board. When Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman coached at Cincin- nati, he personally recruited Payne, and now he is looking to bring the talented prospect with him to South Bend. Rivals ranks Payne as the No. 157 overall prospect and No. 11 running back in the land. A Look Ahead At The Class Of 2022 Notre Dame is a top contender for Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers' Dallan Hayden, the No. 19 run- ning back and No. 229 overall recruit in the land per Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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