Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2021

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

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Page 48 of 67 PRESEASON 2021 49 BY MIKE SINGER To b i a s M e r r i w e a t h e r v i s i t e d Notre Dame with his father, Dom, on Nov. 23, 2019, for the Irish's 40-7 blowout win against Boston College. Of course, the Notre Dame staff was focused on the game at hand that day. And their recruiting efforts were more geared to the players in the 2020 and 2021 classes. But Mer- riweather got his first look at Notre Dame and took it all in. "I remember seeing the campus and all of the older recruits around getting attention," Merriweather re- called. "I was in the back, watching things happen." The 6-4, 180-pound class of 2022 wide receiver from Vancouver (Wash.) Union wouldn't receive his offer from Notre Dame until a year later. Throughout the dead period due to COVID-19, he couldn't take a visit to South Bend, but he and his father still could remember that ex- perience in 2019. Once he got the offer, the Irish staff turned up the heat. They hosted Merriweather for an official visit the weekend of June 11-13. He also saw Stanford in June, and it ultimately came down to those two schools. He chose Notre Dame Aug. 4. "I really like the coaching staff, knowing what I get from them and going there with the academics — it's the whole package," Merriweather said. "There's a great community on the Notre Dame campus. I love the culture there and all of the history. All of that stuff together makes Notre Dame a great package. "I 100 percent believe I can make it to the NFL, but I didn't want to go to a place that if I don't make it, it would be a hindrance to the next 40 years of my life. They talk about four for 40, and Notre Dame really lives up to that." The Irish staff's overall pitch was effective in its simplicity. "They just tell you what you're go- ing to get," Dom Merriweather said. "There's no pomp and circumstance. It's not really a sales job. It's like, 'Here's our locker room and our weight rooms.' You have the best of everything, but at the end of the day, it's Notre Dame. "The core is you have a Notre Dame degree, [the program] gradu- ates 95 percent [of players] and we're trying to win a championship. I think that fits Tobias' personality. He told Coach [Brian] Kelly that culturally it's a good fit for him." Rivals ranks Merriweather as the No. 2 prospect in Washington, and the No. 19 wide receiver and No. 155 overall recruit in the country. As things currently stand, he will be Notre Dame's lone player on its roster from the Evergreen State next year. During a six-game junior season, Merriweather caught 28 passes for 415 yards and six touchdowns. He had 666 all-purpose yards and nine total touchdowns, plus four intercep- tions as a defensive back. Scorebook Live named as a Washington first- team all-state offensive performer. He showed his ability to make plays on the outside, in the slot and as a kickoff returner last fall. Notre Dame currently sees him stretching the field in the boundary. "We haven't talked much about special teams yet, but they know I'm a dynamic player," Merriweather explained. "They told me I'm prob- ably going to be playing boundary receiver, like Chase Claypool and Miles Boykin. I have the body type they want to play that position." Four days after Merriweather 's commitment, the Irish landed a pledge from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei wide receiver CJ Williams. The two have built a good friendship and have played together on the seven- on-seven circuit as well. "I think it's going to be fun," Merriweather said about teaming up with Williams at Notre Dame. "There will be a familiar face when I get there. We talked about being a package deal, and our parents talk a lot to each other. They wanted us to play together. We're both top receiv- ers in the country and a problem for defenses." Merriweather was named the The Columbian's All-Region Male Athlete of the Year with his play in football, basketball and track as a junior. He won district titles in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. During Merriweather's sophomore season in 2019, he caught 43 passes for 766 yards and five touchdowns. His older sisters Jai'Lyn and Dai'Lyn both run track at the Uni- versity of Oklahoma. ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE TOBIAS MERRIWEATHER Notre Dame Lands Coveted West Coast Wide Receiver Notre Dame secured an important commitment to its 2022 class when Merriweather, Rivals' No. 19 wide receiver and No. 161 overall player nationally, pledged to the Irish Aug. 4. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM FILM ANALYSIS "Tobias [Merriweather] is quick, active, instinc- tive and, most of all, productive. He's a precise route runner, understands the passing game and shows brilliant speed, hands, leaping ability and timing. He possesses enormous talent and poten- tial. He has a chance to be a five-star recruit and certainly has all the tools to become just that." — Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming "I really like the coaching staff, knowing what I get from them and going there with the academics — it's the whole package. There's a great com- munity on the Notre Dame campus. I love the culture there and all of the history. All of that stuff together makes Notre Dame a great package." MERRIWEATHER

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