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 81 2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE overall recruit. On3 has him listed as a linebacker, but the Irish staff has been recruiting him as a running back. The prospects listed above were all Lance Taylor recruits. How will Mc- Cullough's addition to the staff shake up the running back board? That remains to be seen. WIDE RECEIVER Committed: 0 Projected Take: 4-5 Synopsis: One can make an argu- ment that receiver is the most impor- tant single position for the Irish in the 2023 cycle. After taking just one high school receiver in the 2022 class, it's crucial for Notre Dame to land a big and talented group in 2023. The Irish have cast a wide net early on at receiver, but there's no doubt that Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy's Car- nell Tate, a Chicago native who ranks as the No. 3 pass catcher and No. 16 overall player in the land, is priority No. 1. For months his recruitment has appeared to be a battle between Notre Dame and Ohio State, but Alabama, Tennessee and others are still after him as well. "Notre Dame has been there from Day 1, I have been there a lot, and I still like the program," Tate said. "I will probably be back in the summer for an- other visit." Miami Gulliver Prep's Jalen Brown, the No. 5 wide receiver and No. 33 overall prospect, is another top Irish target. Notre Dame would love to add him to its class. Another high priority is Uniontown (Pa.) Laurel Highlands' Rodney Gal- lagher, the No. 14 receiver and No. 90 overall player nationally. He hasn't vis- ited campus yet, but the Irish staff is going after him hard. A couple less-heralded players ac- cording to the rankings but still major Notre Dame targets are Chicago Sime- on's Malik Elzy, who is the No. 57 wide receiver and No. 356 overall prospect in America, and Cambridge (Mass.) Buck- ingham Browne & Nichols School's Ronan Hanafin, an unranked prospect by the On3 Consensus. Notre Dame ap- pears to be in the lead group with both recruits. There are a handful of other pros- pects who rank inside the top 160 of the On3 Consensus national rank- ings who the Irish are after at receiver: Temple (Texas) High's Mikal Harrison- Pilot (No. 89), Del Valle (Texas) High's Braylon James (No. 111), Austin (Texas) Westlake's Jaden Greathouse (No. 123), Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field's Kyler Kasper (No. 142), Harrisburg (N.C.) Hickory Ridge's Christian Hamilton (No. 147) and Folsom (Calif.) High's Rico Flores (No. 157). TIGHT END Committed: 1 Projected Take: 1-2 Synopsis: Notre Dame has signed two tight end prospects each of the last three recruiting classes, and since it can get such high-caliber players at the po- sition, it wouldn't be a surprise if the staff makes it four straight years. Concord (Calif.) De La Salle's Cooper Flanagan, the No. 12 tight end and No. 209 overall prospect nationally, has al- ready committed. His stock continues to rise, as reports of him at offseason seven-on-seven tournaments have been strong, and Alabama has been in pursuit of him. Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban personally stopped by Flanagan's high school in January. The expectation is that Flanagan sticks with his Fighting Irish pledge. "Alabama is a fantastic program, and I am honored to get the offer, but I am still big on Notre Dame," Flanagan told On3. "I love the coaching staff at Notre Dame, the school itself and the tradition. "Back in my sophomore year when I started getting offers, I kind of knew I wanted to go to Notre Dame. I loved Notre Dame as a kid, then after visiting there in the summer, and learning about the school, what the offer means, and seeing the campus, I knew it was right." If the Irish do take a second tight end in the 2023 class, it's anyone's guess as to who it will be. New position coach Gerad Parker would likely offer some new players. Phoenix Pinnacle's Duce Robinson, the nation's No. 20 overall player, and Minneapolis (Minn.) Robbinsdale Coo- per's Jaxon Howard, the No. 68 overall prospect in America, are the top two tight ends in the country, respectively. Both prospects have visited Notre Dame and are worth keeping an eye on. St. Louis De Smet's Mac Markway, the No. 9 tight end and No. 120 overall Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy's Carnell Tate, a Chicago native who ranks as the No. 16 overall player and No. 3 pass catcher in the land, is a priority for the Notre Dame staff. PHOTO COURTESY ON3.COM

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