Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY TODD D. BURLAGE The fact that Joey Tanona was the first verbal commitment for the 2022 Notre Dame recruiting class back in July 2020 — and then barely blinked through the program's ensuing coaching chaos 16 months later — not only emphasized the conviction in his scholarship deci- sion, but it also provided a glimpse into his character and loyalty. Extended a Notre Dame offer on May 1, 2020, Tanona — a four-star, all- state recruit out of Zionsville (Ind.) High near Indianapolis — chose Notre Dame about 11 weeks later from a long offer sheet that included LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and many others. Decision made, Tanona sold, case closed. "Growing up in Indiana, Notre Dame football is huge, it's just surreal to me," Tanona told Blue & Gold Illustrated upon his verbal commitment. "Also with Notre Dame, there's a great mix of academics and athletics. And it's an offensive line powerhouse." A strong 2021 senior team captain at Zionsville, and a lead-by-example coach's dream, Tanona spent his sopho- more and senior years playing left tackle for the Eagles, while in between as a junior in 2020, he lined up at center out of necessity. It's a selfless position switch that Zi- onsville head coach Scott Turnquist still celebrates. "It was a really unselfish move for him to play center because that's not something that he had done before," Turnquist explained. "His versatility is something that is very special." And it's that versatility that raises the intriguing question of which position Tanona will play at Notre Dame. According to Turnquist, pick a spot, any spot. Long, athletic, coachable, strong and big (6-foot-5, 284 pounds), Tanona's demeanor and toolbox provide the Irish coaches myriad options. "I know that he's going to be ready, and willing, and able to play anywhere they put him," Turnquist said. "And wherever they ask him to play, he's go- ing to do it and he's going to go a million miles an hour to become the best at it." A young man of succinct words, Tanona was asked about his level of anxiousness when the coaching changes at Notre Dame churned less than three weeks before National Signing Day. A n d Ta n o n a 's c a l m r e s p o n s e shouldn't surprise. "This is Notre Dame, so I knew ev- erything was going to turn out for the best, so I wasn't really worried," he said. "I just knew that it was going to be all right. It was, and it is." ✦ 'All In,' Joey Tanona Living His Destination Dream After becoming the first commit in Notre Dame's class of 2022, Tanona led Zionsville (Ind.) High to back-to-back state 5A title games while lining up at center as a junior and tackle as a senior. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 71 JOEY TANONA INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN 6-5 · 284 ZIONSVILLE H.S. ZIONSVILLE, IND. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE consensus ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 142 10 5 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 63 3 2 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 150 1 4 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 176 9 8 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 167 16 4 STATISTICS • Paved the way for Zionsville to run for 2,932 yards and 39 scores on 518 attempts (5.7 yards per carry) in 15 games in 2021. • Despite having five-loss regular seasons, helped lead Zionsville to back-to-back Indiana class 5A state title game appearances. Zionsville fell to Indianapolis Cathedral in both 2020 and 2021. NOTABLE • Born on Nov. 6, 2003. • 2022 All-American Bowl selection. • 2020 and 2021 MaxPreps All-Great Lakes Re- gion second-team offense. • 2020 Indiana MaxPreps All-State high school first-team offense. • 2020 and 2021 Indiana Football Coaches As- sociation all-state top-50 team. • Competes in track and field with a 170 feet, 3-inch throw in the discus and a 56-foot throw in the shot put. • Set school record for bench press at 390 pounds. • His father, Joe, played linebacker at Army. RECRUITMENT • Became Notre Dame's first commitment of the 2022 class when he pledged on July 25, 2020. • Enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2022. • Also held offers from LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and others before choosing Notre Dame. • Recruited by former offensive line coach Jeff Quinn. • Visited Notre Dame several times, including official visits on June 25, 2021 and Dec. 10, 2021. 2022 PROJECTION • Tanona will likely redshirt as a true freshman in 2021. THEY SAID IT On3 director of scouting and rankings Charles Power: "We came away thinking Tanona is one of the better interior offensive line prospects in the 2022 cycle. Tanona brings size, athleticism, strength and toughness to the table on the in- terior. "He moves well at the second level and finishes blocks. Tanona also sports a 56-foot shot put throw — a positive athletic indicator for offensive linemen. "Tanona is a lean, functional mover and shows effort to the whistle as a drive blocker. The Irish pledge also moves to the second level with ease. Tanona is not overly long and projects along the interior at the next level — likely at center given his prior experience at the position." National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming: "Joey shows a quick setup, good overall athletic ability, and excellent quickness. He has the ability to bend his knees and get good positioning. "A tough performer, Joey has good technique, plays hard until the whistle and has developed into a very reliable pass blocker. Super aggressive, he will stay with his block until the whistle."

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