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 77 FOOTBALL RECRUITING IRISH ADD NOTABLE PREFERRED WALK-ON RECRUITS While the majority of the fanfare in the last month has been concerning the in- coming scholarship players, Notre Dame signed multiple preferred walk-ons ca- pable of making an impact in South Bend this recruiting cycle. Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep athlete Tre Reader committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 31. His position is still to be deter- mined, but he's expected to play on de- fense in the front seven. He held scholar- ship offers from Stetson and Columbia, and Reader's younger brother Troy is a 2023 Irish baseball commit. The Reader family is very close friends with 2023 Notre Dame commit and On3 five-star prospect Keon Keeley. The Reader brothers could be critical in keeping Keeley, who also attends Berke- ley Prep, in the pipeline to head to South Bend. In an offseason full of special teams movement, including the hiring of new special teams coordinator Brian Mason, the Irish added several new faces to the position group. On Jan. 28, Zac Yoakam committed to Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on kicker. Yoakam visited in mid-January, traveling to South Bend from his home- town outside of Columbus, Ohio. The 5-foot-8, 155-pound senior out of Upper Arlington (Ohio) High had a standout se- nior season in 2021, helping lead his team to a 14-1 record and an appearance in the state semifinal game. In total over his high school career, Yoakam made 71 of 71 extra point attempts and was 9 of 14 on field goals with a long of 44 yards. Uniondale (N.Y.) Kellenberg Memorial long snapper Rino Monteforte commit- ted to the Irish on Jan. 31 after visiting the previous weekend. He had been pledged to in-state Buffalo before the flip to Notre Dame. Graduate transfer and former Harvard punter Jon Sot also earned a walk-on spot. The New Jersey native was a first- team All-Ivy League specialist in both 2018 and 2019. ELITE NOTRE DAME RECRUITS AND NFL COMPARISONS Comparing high school football re- cruits to NFL players is meant to be sty- listic in nature, not a career projection. No one is saying a certain prospect will be the next Tom Brady. It's about giving fans an idea of what types of skill sets their favorite college football program is adding with new recruits. Notre Dame signed two of the 32 five- star prospects in On3's 2022 rankings, and On3 director of scouting and rank- ings Charles Power wrote detailed NFL comparisons for them. Like Freeman, Power also compared Sneed to Cleveland Browns rookie line- backer Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah, who won the Butkus Award as a senior at Notre Dame in 2020. "This one is too easy," Power wrote. "Not only is Jaylen Sneed expected to as- sume the role in Notre Dame's defense that made Owusu-Koramoah a star, but the two share many similarities as high school prospects." "Owusu-Koramoah was 6-foot-1½, 188 pounds as a high school prospect. Sneed is slightly heavier, checking in at 6-foot-1, and 205-210 pounds. … Both are twitchy athletes who play with a hair- on-fire effort level, running down plays from sideline-to-sideline. … Owusu- Koramoah was known for his physicality at the college level. We saw Sneed simi- larly seek out and embrace contact at the Under Armour All-America Game." Both Owusu-Koramoah and Sneed played multiple positions in high school, including overlap at linebacker, quarter- back and safety. Power believes Irish recruit Aamil Wagner's game is similar to Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garrett Bolles. "Like Wagner, Bolles was an athletic 260-pounder out of high school. He saw his body take off after a year at Snow College," Power said. "We would expect to see Wagner look quite different after a year or two in Notre Dame's strength program." Wagner is currently 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. He is explosive but lacks mass. That should change after a year in strength coach Matt Balis' care. Zionsville (Ind.) High's Joey Tanona, the nation's No. 3 interior offensive line- man and No. 63 overall player per On3, compares to three-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly of the Indianapolis Colts. Fond du Lac (Wis.) St. Mary's Springs' Billy Schrauth, the No. 5 interior offen- sive lineman and No. 88 overall recruit in America, is linked to Frank Ragnow, a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2018 and 2020 Pro Bowl selection. West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley's Eli Raridon, who is listed as the No. 3 tight end and No. 92 overall player in the land, compares to another Iowa product in T.J. Hockenson, a John Mackey Award win- ner out of Iowa, a first-round selection by Detroit in 2019 and 2020 Pro Bowler. ON3'S NIL VALUATIONS FOR NOTRE DAME One of the ground-breaking new fea- tures On3 is producing is its proprietary student-athlete name, image and like- ness (NIL) valuation. The metric looks to set the standard market value for both high school and college-level athletes but does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals an athlete has completed to date. Rather, it signifies an athlete's marketing value at a certain moment in time. Following National Signing Day on Feb. 2, Notre Dame's 2022 class had an average NIL valuation of $15,900. Unsurprisingly, quarterback Steve An- geli leads the pack with a valuation of $30,000. On the defensive side of the ball, On3 Consensus five-star recruit and linebacker Jaylen Sneed has the highest valuation: $26,000. North- western transfer and All-American safety Brandon Joseph has a valuation of $22,000. ✦ Sneed, who is listed as a five-star prospect and the nation's No. 26 overall player in the On3 rankings, has drawn comparisons to former Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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