Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 45 2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE good to keep off the field (think Michael Mayer in 2020), the one who plays out of necessity because of poor depth (think Deion Colzie in 2021) and the total sur- prise (think Clarence Lewis in 2020). "Using this model, I'll go with Sneed as the player who's too good to keep off the field, Tobias Merriweather to play because of need at the receiver position and defensive back Jayden Bellamy as the surprise early impact." Spiegelman: "Certainly, Sneed has a compelling case. With Kyle Hamilton possibly the first defensive back off the board in this spring's NFL Draft, Sneed brings a hybrid linebacker/safety skill- set to Freeman's defense that certainly will have a gaping void to fill." BGI: Which prospect do you think could outplay his ranking? Power: "He's already ranked fairly high for us at No. 91 overall, but I could see Eli Raridon out-play that ranking. Raridon was a 'stock up' prospect after putting together a strong senior season. "He was also off to a great start in basketball this winter prior to going down with a torn ACL. He has the tal- ent to step in and pick up the slack once Mayer moves on to the NFL." Singer: "I'm going with both of Notre Dame's players from Bergen Catholic in Oradell, New Jersey. Bellamy is a four- star per the On3 Consensus, but all four major recruiting services have him as a high three-star according to their own rankings. Bellamy has a special 'it' to him; I think he's going to surprise some folks. "And the other is quarterback Steve Angeli; he's also got 'it.' You can't quite put your finger on the intangibles of 'it,' but you know it when you see it. There are plenty of folks inside the Notre Dame football offices who feel Angeli is a darn good quarterback. "Ranked as a three-star per the On3 Consensus, Angeli will have a better ca- reer than anticipated, whether that's at Notre Dame or if he ends up elsewhere (there are always transfers at QB)." Spiegelman: "Tyson Ford was one of the more impressive defensive line- men during the All-American Bowl. At 6-foot-6 and north of 270 pounds with the ability to move as well as he does, he can potentially develop into a devastat- ing interior pass rusher." BGI: What is the strongest position group of Notre Dame's 2022 class? Power: "It's between tight end, of- fensive line and linebacker — three po- sitions Notre Dame recruits very well. I'll go with the offensive line. "We have offensive tackle Aamil Wag- ner rated as a five-star prospect, and Joey Tanona and Billy Schrauth check in as top-100 prospects. I think this group is a continuation of the strong track re- cord the Irish have established over the last decade." Simmons: "I really like the offen- sive line group led by Wagner. I love his potential and upside. There is a strong group of interior guys in this class as well. I like the quartet of offensive line- men Notre Dame signed." Singer: "It's close between offensive line and linebackers, but I'm going with the O-line. It's such a strong unit with five On3 Consensus four-star prospects. It's well balanced, too. Notre Dame signed a full position group: left tackle Wagner, guard Tanona, center Ashton Craig, guard Schrauth and right tackle Ty Chan." Spiegelman: "The Irish have an outstanding group of front-seven de- fenders on board, headlined by five-star linebacker Jaylen Sneed. I'm also fond of Aiden Gobaira and Ford on the defen- sive line and second-level players like Niuafe Tuihalamaka and Nolan Ziegler." BGI: What's the position group you would've liked to see Notre Dame do a better job with? Power: "I think the biggest hurdle for Notre Dame to clear on the recruit- ing front is quarterback. I view the Irish as making steady progress in terms of overall roster talent. St. Louis John Burroughs' Tyson Ford, the nation's No. 13 defensive lineman and No. 91 overall player per the On3 Consensus, had a strong showing at the All-American Bowl in January. PHOTO COURTESY ON3.COM Denison (Texas) High's Jadarian Price, who is the No. 14 running back and No. 214 overall pros- pect in the land according to the On3 Consensus, could be an instant contributor to Notre Dame's offense. PHOTO BY MIKE SINGER "In any given cycle, Notre Dame's 2022 class would impress. However, given that the Irish successfully transitioned from Kelly to Freeman and signed the nation's No. 6 class with an 81-percent blue-chips ratio, it is a massive accomplishment." ON3 NATIONAL RECRUITING ANALYST SAM SPIEGELMAN

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