Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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78 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY TYLER HORKA A return to the normal scholarship limit of 85 in 2022 meant Notre Dame was going to have to shed some roster weight in the early weeks of the offseason, and that's exactly what happened. A slew of players entered the NCAA transfer portal after the Fiesta Bowl, and the ratio of those who have left to those Notre Dame has brought in was nowhere near an exact 1:1. Twelve players entered the portal from September to early Feb- ruary. Notre Dame only officially brought in two scholarship transfers in the same time frame; safety Brandon Joseph from Northwestern and kicker Blake Grupe from Arkansas State. The 21 high school recruits Notre Dame signed out of the class of 2022 was a much lower total than the 27 signed in the previous class, too. Don't panic. This was bound to hap- pen. Especially considering the Irish had 14 scholarship players playing beyond a fourth year of collegiate eligibility ac- cording to the roster released by Notre Dame athletics in late January (now 13). The likes of Jarrett Patterson, Josh Lugg and Bo Bauer wouldn't have been able to give it one more go for the Irish had the likes of Shayne Simon, Paul Moala and Jay Bramblett not transferred. That's math. It's just the way it works. As of Feb. 8, Notre Dame sat on 85 scholarships; 39 on offense, 41 on de- fense and five spent on specialists. The Irish dropped from 86 to 85 scholarship players to fall within the NCAA man- dates only after senior tight end George Takacs reversed course Feb. 7 and en- tered the portal as a graduate transfer. The Irish have two kickers, two long snappers and one punter on scholar- ship, and all of those players appear to be locked into their roles. Fifth-year seniors C'Bo Flemister and TaRiq Bracy are in- teresting cases. Neither player released a social media statement stating they're staying in South Bend for another season like their teammates. They're still listed on the spring roster, but a lot can change between now and the fall. Right now, Notre Dame's scholarship roster is at exactly the number it needs to face Ohio State in the season opener on Sept. 3. In the meantime, here's a look at all 85 of Notre Dame's scholar- ship players heading into spring prac- tices. (An asterisk [*] indicates a fresh- man who has enrolled early.) Quarterbacks (4) Fifth-Year Seniors — None Seniors — None Juniors — Drew Pyne Sophomores — Tyler Buchner and Ron Powlus III Freshmen — Steve Angeli* Note: Buchner and Pyne will battle for the starting job while Angeli and Powlus compete to stake a claim as the No. 3 option. Buchner attempted 36 passes as a true freshman and Pyne has thrown 33 passes in two full seasons, so Notre Dame is set to start a rela- tively inexperienced signal-caller no matter who wins the job. The Irish haven't had a quarterback make his first collegiate start since Ian Book in 2017. Running Backs (5) Fifth-Year Seniors — None Seniors — C'Bo Flemister Juniors — Chris Tyree Sophomores — Logan Diggs and Audric Estime Freshmen — Jadarian Price* Note: Replacing Kyren Williams, a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher, will be a dubious task whether the Irish elect to do it by committee or if Tyree's time has come as a full-time starter. Tyree was limited to 56 carries for 222 yards and one rushing touchdown, but caught 24 passes for 258 yards and two scores in 2021 and added a kickoff return touchdown as well. Diggs ran 51 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Wide Receivers (8) Sixth-Year Seniors — Avery Davis Fifth-Year Seniors — Braden Lenzy, Matt Salerno and Joe Wilkins Jr. Juniors — None Sophomores — Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas and Lorenzo Styles Freshmen — Tobias Merriweather Notes: Notre Dame had 12 scholarship wide receiv- ers at this time last year. Davis and Wilkins are coming off knee injuries that required surgery. Lenzy and the sophomore class will have to be strong for this unit in 2022, especially after only signing one recruit in the class of 2022. Tight Ends (6) Fifth-Year Seniors — None Seniors: None Juniors — Kevin Bauman and Michael Mayer Sophomores — Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans Freshmen — Eli Raridon and Holden Staes Note: Mayer set a school record for tight ends with 71 receptions last season. He gained 840 yards and scored seven touchdowns. This will likely be his last season before entering the NFL Draft, and expecta- tions are for it to be an award-winning campaign for one of the best in the sport at his position. With Kyren Williams having left for the NFL Draft, Chris Tyree finally has his chance to be Notre Dame's No. 1 running back. However, he's going to need to bounce back from a less-than-stellar sophomore season, during which he managed just 222 yards and one touchdown on 56 rushing attempts. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER 2022 Scholarship Breakdown By Position And Class Year

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