Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 99

2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY TODD D. BURLAGE An undeniable dynamic in every Notre Dame foot- ball recruiting class is its membership diversity. East and west, urban and rural, rap and pop — the Irish roster forever features it all. And it's that backdrop which makes the chapter of three-star offensive lineman Ashton Craig so fitting and interesting as the 2022 recruiting book closes. When Craig was asked last month by Blue & Gold Illustrated at the 2022 All-American Bowl what excites him beyond foot- ball, the 6-foot-4, 274-pound offen- sive lineman immediately said "fishing" — presumably not a default response among his classmates. "Fishing is my No. 1 hobby," Craig proudly proclaimed. Growing up in Lawrenceburg, Ind. — a small city situated on the Ohio River downstream from Cincinnati and popu- lated by fewer than 10,000 folks — Craig has plenty of isolated lakes, streams and other waterways to toss a line into. "I'm always out fishing on the week- ends," he added. And when Craig isn't testing the waters near home, he can regularly be found at his grandfather's house on Lake Istokpoga in Central Florida, working the waters for largemouth bass and black crappie. "Gone Fishing" time is likely going to be hard for Craig to find in June when this talented but still untested three- star interior offensive lineman makes his four-hour relocation drive upstate to South Bend. Craig received high marks after his week at the All-American Bowl. But coming from an isolated Indiana high school with fewer than 1,000 students didn't necessarily provide Craig the competitive or developmental oppor- tunities many of his fellow all-stars enjoyed. "I'm starting to get used to all of the elite-level athletes," Craig said of les- sons he learned in San Antonio. "Just me getting out here and going against them, I'm starting to get used to it." With opportunities to play at Northwest- ern, Iowa, Nebraska a n d m a n y o t h e r s , C r a i g 's r e c r u i t i n g course took a swift turn after a routine camp visit to Notre Dame last June before his senior season. The Irish coaches were impressed enough with Craig to offer a scholarship, and he was impressed enough to accept it only about two weeks later. Craig won't come to Notre Dame with the hype and circumstance of his positional prede- cessors from this time last year with Joe Alt, Blake Fisher and Rocco Spindler. But as Craig would tell his grandpa, it's not always the biggest fish that make the biggest splash. ✦ Ashton Craig Ready For Uncharted Waters Craig received high marks after his week at the All-American Bowl, adjusting quickly from his small Indiana high school to the rigors of facing elite competition daily. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 53 ASHTON CRAIG INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN 6-4 · 274 LAWRENCEBURG H.S. LAWRENCEBURG, IND. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE consensus ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 498 38 11 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 25 11 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 47 11 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 36 12 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 27 7 NOTABLE • Born on April 5, 2004. • 2022 All-American Bowl participant. • 2021 Indiana Mr. Football Offensive Line. • 2021 Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50. • 2020 Indiana Football Coaches Association Class 3A Junior All-State. • Finalist for the 2022 All-American Bowl Man of the Year — picked based off epitome of a high standard of excellence in community service and athletic distinction. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Notre Dame on June 26, 2021. • Will enroll at Notre Dame this summer. • Held offers from Baylor, Boston College, Cin- cinnati, Florida State, Michigan, Nebraska and others. • Late bloomer in the recruiting process; his stock didn't soar until the summer going into his senior year. • Recruited by former offensive line coach Jeff Quinn. • Visited Notre Dame on a handful of occasions, including official visits in June 2021 and December 2021. 2022 PROJECTION • Craig is a strong candidate to redshirt as a true freshman on Notre Dame's deep offensive line. THEY SAID IT Lawrenceburg head coach Ryan Knigga: "The best thing he provides overall is his athleticism. For his size and the way that he can move and bend, he's one of the more athletic lineman in the country. "He brings tenacity and is an attention-to-detail kid as far as game plan and studying film goes. He's going to bring an edge, a chip on his shoulder, play to the whistle and has a mighty motor." National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming: "He brings excellent size, strength and production to the recruiting table. Craig can bend his knees, al- ways seems to get good positioning, and once he locks on, it's all over. "He plays a physical brand of football showing good straight-ahead speed and comes out of his stance with power and purpose. Craig is a very impressive ball player with the growth potential to weigh 320 pounds."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - March 2022