Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2021

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 47

36 DECEMBER 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES A few hours before Notre Dame kicked off against USC last month, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco class of 2024 safety Peyton Woodyard was on the field with some pretty good company. Earlier this year, Woodyard found out that he is a cousin of Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton, and they met for the first time over the summer when both were in South Bend. Woodyard chatted it up with Hamil- ton before the Oct. 23 game along with Pleasant Hill (Iowa) Southeast Polk class of 2022 five-star safety Xavier Nwankpa. Hamilton was an elite safety back in the 2019 class and has at the very least met all expectations set on him. Nwankpa is one of the nation's most coveted safeties in the current recruiting cycle. And Woodyard is next up in the 2024 class. He is one of two safeties on Rivals' top-100 watch list for his class. It was a neat moment for Woodyard to interact with two high-level safeties that he looks up to. "I saw Kyle before and after the game," Woodyard said. "He always has good things to say about Notre Dame. Xavier is a really good guy, too. He told me that if I ever needed anything that I can hit him up. These guys are older than me so I can learn from them. It's is a great experience." Woodyard had an extended visit at Notre Dame — he also spent Sunday on campus to get more of a feel of it, and he was with safeties coach Chris O'Leary for the entire day. "Coach O'Leary was showing me how they'd use me in a similar role to Kyle," Woodyard said. "Coach [Marcus] Free- man is the head guy of the defense. I got to talk to him a bit, and that was really good. "I toured the campus on Sunday, saw the academic side and showed my mom around because it was just my dad with me the first time I went there. She saw how great Notre Dame is." Whenever it does come decision time for Woodyard, Notre Dame will be a factor. "Notre Dame is a great place to be," he said. "They have strong academics and football. The whole vibe you get when you there is hard to explain. There's just something about being there." — Mike Singer Notre Dame doesn't have an offensive line commitment in the 2023 class yet, and Rock Island (Ill.) Alleman's Charles Jagusah is a name for Fighting Irish fans to keep a close eye on. Jagusah, who Rivals ranks as the nation's No. 18 offensive tackle and No. 226 overall player, received his scholarship offer from Notre Dame Aug. 5, and a few weeks later, he set up a trip to South Bend to see the Irish take on USC Oct. 23. The top Notre Dame target enjoyed his first on-campus experience. "It was pretty good," he said. "Notre Dame has a really pretty campus. It was a fun game, too. "We were there for a strength and conditioning presentation and walked around for a bit with Coach [ Jeff ] Quinn, going through the facilities. We did a photo shoot, ate some food and then it was pretty much game time." Jagusah's visit in late October was his first time at Notre Dame, and it was also the first time he met offensive line coach Jeff Quinn. "He's pretty similar in person to how he was on the phone," Jagusah noted. "He's a pretty intense guy; you can hear him down the hallway when you walk in. He's a funny guy, and I like him. "We talk about once per week. We've been getting to know each other more." Jagusah met offensive director of re- cruiting Dre Brown, too. "I like him a lot," Jagusah said. "He's the person I talk to the most at Notre Dame. He's a really good guy." The Notre Dame staff covets Jagusah as part of its 2023 class, and they made sure to present why he should pick them. "There's nowhere else like Notre Dame where you can get that level of school and be one of the top teams in the country any given year," Jagusah said. Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin are among the other schools in pursuit of Jagusah. Notre Dame should be con- sidered an early, top contender for him. "The visit definitely opened my eyes more," Jagusah continued about Notre Dame. "I had seen pictures of campus, but it's different in person. The campus is beautiful." — Mike Singer Fighting Irish Are A Top Contender For Elite 2024 Safety First Notre Dame Visit Is A Success For 2023 Tackle PEYTON WOODYARD ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ St. John Bosco H.S. Bellflower, Calif. Status: Offered Class: 2024 Position: Safety Ht.: 6-2 • Wt.: 188 Rivals Rankings: Is on the top-100 watch list CHARLES JAGUSAH ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Alleman H.S. Rock Island, Ill. Status: Offered Class: 2023 Position: Offensive tackle Ht.: 6-6 • Wt.: 285 Rivals Rankings: No. 4 player in Illinois, and No. 18 offensive tackle and No. 226 overall player nationally "The visit definitely opened my eyes more. I had seen pictures of campus, but it's different in person. The campus is beautiful." Jagusah on Notre Dame "Notre Dame is a great place to be. They have strong academics and football. The whole vibe you get when you are there is hard to explain. There's just something about being there." Woodyard

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - December 2021