Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2022*

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

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50 JANUARY 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Notre Dame didn't have any new ad- ditions to its 2022 class on the first day of the early signing period Dec. 15, and it lost on some recruits during the week, too. But don't let that distract you from the fact that five days earlier, Notre Dame landed a crucial commitment from Fond du Lac (Wis.) St. Mary's Springs offensive guard Billy Schrauth. The 6-4, 272-pounder considered committing to Notre Dame during the summer of 2020. There were many points between then and Dec. 10, 2021 that pundits thought he'd make a de- cision. Schrauth even admits that the process dragged out longer than he thought it would. "It did, yeah," Schrauth said. "It defi- nitely did. I had intentions to make my decision as early as possible." Several months before Schrauth re- ceived his offer from the Irish, he vis- ited South Bend for a 40-7 victory over Boston College on Nov. 23, 2019. At that point, he felt great about Notre Dame. He received his offer from the Irish and nearly committed before his junior year, but COVID-19 shut down face-to- face recruiting contact, and Wisconsin — the in-state school — came on strong too. "I didn't want to rush it, and the more I thought about it, the more I was torn between the two," Schrauth explained. "They both have their perks, but at the end of the day — and I told [Notre Dame] Coach [Tommy] Rees this, too — I'm not going to work that hard just to be average. I'm going to come to work every day expecting to be the best, and that strive for excellence really fits the culture at Notre Dame. "That's what gave me that last push to feel it within me." Schrauth officially visited Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin over the summer when in-person recruiting opened back up. The momentum the Fighting Irish had built for the past year seemed to slip away after he took the visits, and the Badgers were thought to be the favorite to land him. He visited both schools for games in the fall. He even saw the two teams play on a neutral field in Chicago, a contest the Irish won 41-13. It was a constant game of tug-of-war between the two programs in recruiting Schrauth, but his heart was with Notre Dame. The pressure that mounted to stay in his home state made it tough to turn down Wisconsin. There's a reason why the last player the Irish signed before Schrauth was in 2001 (Brian Beidatsch). The top players from Wisconsin usually stay home. "Growing up here, everyone is a Bad- ger fans, and I heard stuff all the time from everyone," Schrauth said. "They all wanted me to stay home and put on for the state. I don't think it was my calling. I thought my calling was greater than just that. "I don't want to be working my ass off all year around to play for peaches. I don't give a damn about that. I want to be playing for national championships." Schrauth believes he'll play for a ti- tle under new Irish head coach Marcus Freeman. Within an hour of the conclu- sion of his introductory press confer- ence at Notre Dame Dec. 6, Freeman got on a private jet with Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees en route to Fond du Lac to close on Schrauth, the nation's No. 3 guard and No. 125 overall player per Rivals. Hearing Freeman's vision for Notre Dame was a key factor in Schrauth's de- cision to choose the Irish, and he told the coaches during that visit that he would be committing to them. "He made it known that they wanted me bad," Schrauth said. Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame — and presumably offensive line coach Jeff Quinn, a longtime Kelly assistant who recruited the four-star lineman hard — didn't faze Schrauth either. "When I heard that there was going to be a change, I wasn't worried at all," Schrauth explained. "I knew what was going to happen and kept that relation- ship with Coach Rees. He helped me through it all. He was honest with me the whole time. To hear that he wasn't leaving and that Coach Freeman was getting the job was a good change for the program. It's exactly what we need." Schrauth praises Rees for the job he did in his recruitment. "He was great," Schrauth stated. "He kept it straight with me throughout the whole process. He was really good to my family and said that there's a need for people at my position, and that was important to me. I want to get on the field as early as possible." Schrauth will enroll at Notre Dame in January and take part in spring ball. "I'm ready to get to work," he said. "I'm going to bring a nasty edge to the offensive line room. It's going to be great." ✦ FILM ANALYSIS "Billy has a blue-collar work ethic and shows explosive moves off the ball. He can dominate the middle of the line, has quick hands and shows a good natural burst. As consistent as they come, he effectively fought through many double-teams. Pretty strong in the upper body, Schrauth dominated just about every player he went up against on both sides of the ball." — Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming COMMITMENT PROFILE BILLY SCHRAUTH Irish Edge Wisconsin For Four-Star Offensive Lineman Schrauth, Rivals' No. 3 offensive guard and No. 125 overall player nationally, picked the Fighting Irish over the in-state Badgers. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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