Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 99

BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 11 UNDER THE DOME 1 Notre Dame football player — sophomore tight end Michael Mayer at No. 52 — appeared in On3's Name Image and Likeness (NIL) 100 for college football as of Feb. 4. Mayer was listed with 34,000 followers on social media and an NIL valuation of $157,000. Both Mayer (No. 94) and junior run- ning back Kyren Williams (No. 6) were on the NIL 100 list when it debuted in early January. In addition, class of 2023 linebacker Drayk Bowen was the highest-ranked Notre Dame commit, debuting at No. 82 among high school football players in early January and sitting at No. 103 as of Feb. 4. He was listed with 19,000 followers on social media and an NIL valuation of $38,000. On3's algorithm is comprised of a number of dynamic data points that focus on two primary factors — an athlete's social media presence and their level of athletic performance. 9th Was where CBS Sports writer Shehan Jeyarajah placed Notre Dame on his list of the 10 college football teams that were hit hardest by underclassmen entering the NFL Draft early. "Safety Kyle Hamilton was a superstar from the moment he stepped on campus," Jeyarajah noted. "The only thing making his loss a little more manageable was that the Fighting Irish had to play the second half of the 2021 season without him. Leading rushing Kyren Williams and receiver Kevin Austin Jr. also joined senior quarterback Jack Coan in the draft, meaning offensive coordinator Tommy Rees will virtually be starting from scratch in 2022." 10th Was where Mayer was slotted on CBS Sports writer Tom Fornelli's list of the top 20 NFL draft-eligible college football players taking the field in 2022. "Every offense in the country wants a matchup night- mare at tight end — somebody who can block in the run game but is also quick and athletic enough to beat linebackers, safeties and corners alike in the passing game," he wrote. "Meet Michael Mayer. He was hit with the Baby Gronk label, as so many young tight ends are, but Mayer has the potential to live up to it. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound behemoth caught 71 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns last season." 15th Was where former Notre Dame and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (74.4 grade) ranked among NFL rookies in Pro Foot- ball Focus' grading during the 2021 season. He also earned a spot on PFF's All-Rookie team. "I firmly believe there are a couple of teams that drafted linebackers in the first round that would like Owusu-Koramoah more if they had a do-over," PFF's Michael Renner noted. "His range and recognition are off the charts for a rookie. On 35 targets this season, he allowed just 168 yards." 16th Person to receive the East-West Shrine Bowl's Pat Tillman Award — which rec- ognizes college athletes who demonstrate intelligence, sportsmanship and service — was Notre Dame quarter- back Jack Coan. After receiving the honor, Coan completed 10 of 13 throws for a team-best 91 yards with one touchdown to help the West squad to a 25-24 victory Feb. 3. 17th Was Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley's average draft position in five NBA mock drafts released between early Janu- ary and early February. SB Nation had him the highest, projecting him to go to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 11 overall pick. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Krysten Peek of Yahoo! Sports had him going No. 16 overall to the Memphis Grizzlies, while ESPN and CBS Sports both predicted he would be selected 21st by the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets, respectively. In addition, On3 and Vecenie had him at No. 14 and No. 15, respectively, on their "Big Boards." 65.0 Percent three-point shooting for Notre Dame senior forward Nate Laszewski in his last three games against North Carolina. He made 6 of 7 from long range to help the Irish knock off the Tar Heels 78-73 on Jan. 5. Last year, he was 7 of 11 in a 66-65 regular-season defeat in Chapel Hill and 0 of 2 in the 101-59 ACC Tournament setback. In his first two games versus UNC in 2018 and 2019, he made just 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from behind the arc. Through 23 games, Laszewski was shooting a career-best 44.4 percent (36 of 81) from three-point range. That figure would have put him second in the ACC (behind Virginia Tech's Hunter Cattoor, 46.9) and 14th nationally if he had accrued enough attempts to qualify for both lists. 70.5 Offensive grade for freshman BLAKE FISHER in Notre Dame's 37-35 loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1. That ranked second on the team, just behind graduate student quarterback Jack Coan (70.6). Fisher, who had played just 37 snaps as the starter at left tackle in the sea- son opener at Florida State Sept. 5 before going down with a knee injury, started at right tackle and played all 91 snaps for the Fighting Irish. De- spite starting two freshmen — Fisher and left tackle Joe Alt — on the of- fensive line for the first time since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972, Notre Dame allowed just two sacks on 74 pass plays against a Cow- boys defense that entered the game first in the nation with 55 sacks. Fisher earned a 79.9 pass-blocking grade. 94.2 O ve ra l l g ra d e from Pro Foot- ball Focus for former Notre Dame and current Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin — the second highest in the NFL regard- less of position for the 2021 season. Only San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Brown (98.3) had a better grade than Martin. ✦ BY THE NUMBERS PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - March 2022