Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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84 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame hosted several class of 2023 targets on Jan. 29, and it seems they came away with a favorable im- pression of an Irish coaching staff filled with new faces. One of those recruits was Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nich- ols School athlete Ronan Hanafin. The Massachusetts native, who currently plays wide receiver, does not have an On3 ranking yet, although he holds a four-star ranking from Rivals and a three-star ranking from 247Sports. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound pass catcher re- ally enjoyed his visit to South Bend. "One of the highlights for me was Coach [Marcus] Freeman and Coach [Tommy] Rees both called me into their offices, and I got to have good conversa- tions with them," Hanafin said. The weekend was Hanafin's second time on campus. He visited in Novem- ber and received an offer from Rees while there. Additionally, he was able to spend time with defensive director of re- cruiting Chad Bowden and new wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey while on campus. Hanafin provided insight about Stuckey's personality and their interactions that weekend. "He's a really upbeat guy, and I love that as a wide receivers coach," the ris- ing senior added. "He's a really likable coach, and I got to spend some great time with him. We went to lunch. He knows what he's talking about." Hanafin had spoken with Stuckey be- fore, but Jan. 29 was the first time he met with the new Irish coach. If Hanafin were to ultimately choose Notre Dame, Stuckey might be his posi- tion coach. But he also might work more with safeties coach Chris O'Leary be- cause Hanafin said Notre Dame is looking at him for either their offense or defense. "They said they could see me playing either side of the ball," Hanafin added. "I could play whatever works for the team." As for the spring, Hanafin is still getting organized and deciding which schools to visit. He did mention, how- ever, he was very excited about an offer he received from Ohio State on Jan. 26. "That was definitely a cool offer," Hanafin said. "It's obviously a big-time school and has always been a great foot- ball program." In total, Hanafin holds 17 offers, with other notable options such as Michi- gan and Penn State. According to On3's analytics, Boston College currently had the best chance of landing him (50.4 percent) as of Feb. 3. Hanafin has visited Chestnut Hill four times. — Ashton Pollard Per his On3 recruiting profile, Law- rence (Mass.) Central Catholic class of 2023 athlete Preston Zinter has visited both Boston College and Notre Dame four times. That shows just how interested the four-star prospect is in the Irish, con- sidering it's a much farther trek to South Bend compared to Boston for Zinter. The 6-2, 205-pounder's latest visit to Notre Dame was Jan. 29 for Notre Dame's prospect day. It was another successful trip for Zinter. "It was an awesome visit," Zinter said. "The highlight for me was really just having the opportunity to spend more time with the coaches, recruits and the guys already committed like Drayk Bowen and Brenan Vernon." A key moment of the visit was a film room meeting with Notre Dame defen- sive analyst Nick Lezynski, where the Irish staffer broke down Zinter's and Bowen's film. "He showed me where I would fit into their defense," Zinter added. "They said they really like my athleticism and can see me playing any of the three line- backer positions." Bowen and Zinter connected dur- ing the Jan. 29 visit. Bowen hopes that Zinter joins him on Notre Dame's 2023 linebacker commit list. "We totally got along," Zinter said. "It was great to hang out with him all day and get to know him and his family." This was Zinter's first trip to Notre Dame since Marcus Freeman was el- evated from defensive coordinator to head coach of the Fighting Irish football program. He spoke plenty with Freeman during his visit, too. "It was really cool to see and feel the energy and excitement of the program," Zinter noted. The Massachusetts tight end, who is being recruited primarily as a linebacker but could play a number of positions, isn't in a rush to make a decision, but he has thoughts about when he'd like to make a college commitment. "I'm not holding myself to a time- line, but ideally I would like to make my decision by summer or sooner," he said. "I have a ton of schools wanting me to come down for a spring practice in March. So, I'm going to have to sit down with my parents and plan out next steps." Zinter was expected to announce his commitment Feb. 11, and Notre Dame looked to be the favorite for his services. — Mike Singer Intriguing 2023 Athlete Returns To South Bend Is ND Team To Beat For Four-Star Massachusetts Prospect? RONAN HANAFIN ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Buckingham Browne & Nichols School Cambridge, Mass. Status: Offered Class: 2023 Position: Athlete Ht.: 6-2 • Wt.: 200 On3 Consensus Rankings: Currently unrated PRESTON ZINTER ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Central Catholic H.S. Lawrence, Mass. Status: Offered Class: 2023 Position: Athlete Ht.: 6-2 • Wt.: 220 On3 Consensus Rankings: No. 4 player in Massachusetts, and No. 26 tight end and No. 432 overall player nationally

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