Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2022*

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

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Page 45 of 63

46 JANUARY 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER N otre Dame signed 21 recruits during the three-day early signing period in mid-Decem- ber, and may add more on the first Wednesday in February. The Fighting Irish only signed one wide receiver recruit, so that would cer- tainly be a position to monitor moving forward. Below is a breakdown of each Notre Dame class of 2022 signee, listed in or- der of the On3 Consensus rankings, a complete and equally weighted indus- try-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. 1. JAYLEN SNEED LB • 6-1, 198 Hilton Head, S.C. • Hilton Head H.S. Sneed had a superb senior season as a linebacker, racking up more than 100 tackles, and also showed off his incredible athleti- cism at the running back position, rushing for 815 yards and 11 touchdowns on 117 carries. He is a modern day, sideline-to-sideline linebacker with stellar instincts. He was one of the first class of 2022 prospects that Marcus Freeman went after hard when he ar- rived in South Bend in January 2021, and his efforts have paid off with this sign- ing. Sneed has All-America potential. He held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon. The On3 Con- sensus has him as the No. 3 linebacker and No. 34 overall player in America. 2. JOSHUA BURNHAM LB • 6-3, 214 Traverse City, Mich. • Traverse City Central H.S. What a fun football player to watch on film. The Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year got it done on both sides of the ball as a senior at quarterback and line- backer, willing his Traverse City Central squad to a Michigan Divi- sion 2 State Tournament berth. B u r n h a m p os te d 7 7 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss and two intercep- tions, and also accounted for 43 touchdowns and 2,471 yards on offense. He is a tackling machine as an inside linebacker, and his knowledge of playing so much offense helps him diagnose plays as a linebacker. He could also be an impact player coming off the edge. Burnham, who is the No. 9 linebacker and No. 103 overall recruit in the On3 Consensus, is a special talent and could see the field early in his Notre Dame career on special teams. 3. JOEY TANONA OL • 6-5, 284 Zionsville, Ind. • Zionsville H.S. Tanona played a lot of center as a junior and slid out to left tackle as a senior. He projects to play an interior offensive line spot at Notre Dame. There's quite a rank- ings discrepancy for the All-America recruit, with three sites ranking him outside their top 150 prospects nationally, while an- other has him as a borderline five-star recruit. The On3 Consensus lists him as the No. 10 interior offensive lineman and No. 118 overall prospect in the land. Regardless, it's clear why he was such a highly coveted prospect. He has great technique and strength, and excels get- ting out to the second level. This is a big in-state catch for Notre Dame. 4. TOBIAS MERRIWEATHER WR • 6-4, 188 West Camas, Wash. • Union H.S. Notre Dame identified Merriweather early in the process and went after him hard. He was a big-time get when the Irish won the recruitment over the summer, and his stock is up after a strong senior season in which he hauled in 30 passes for 502 yards and three scores. On the other side of the ball, he picked off three passes, return- ing two for scores. He has the size to be a boundary re- ceiver, and excellent speed and ball skills down the field. He can also take a short hitch or a jet sweep the distance, and looks great as a defensive back and returner as well. Merriweather, the No. 22 wide re- ceiver and No. 121 overall recruit in America according to the On3 Consen- sus, has all of the makings to be an im- pact player at Notre Dame. 5. TYSON FORD DE • 6-4, 269 St. Louis • John Burroughs H.S. In 13 games played as a junior and senior, Ford only recorded four sacks because opponents made a concerted effort to take him out of the game, but he was productive stop- ping the run with 62 total tackles (12 for loss). While watching him on tape, it's easy to see he offers what Mike Elston values: length, explosiveness and a motor that doesn't stop. He might not come to mind first when fans think of the top recruits in Notre Dame's class, but he's definitely up there. Ford, the No. 18 defensive lineman and No. 122 overall prospect per the On3 Consensus, was a huge recruiting win for the Irish when he picked Notre Dame over Oklahoma, despite the Sooners be- ing the initial choice. 6. BILLY SCHRAUTH OL • 6-4, 272 Campbellsport, Wis. • St. Mary's Springs H.S. What a huge get for Notre Dame on so many fronts. He's the first recruit RATING THE RECRUITS Blue & Gold Illustrated's insights on Notre Dame's early signees

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