Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

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

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34 AUGUST 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MIKE SINGER Notre Dame is considered "Offen- sive Line U" by many, and it flexed its muscles when Rock Island (Ill.) Alleman High class of 2023 tackle Charles Jag- usah pledged to the Irish June 30. Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and Co. landed the No. 1 offensive tackle in America per On3 with Jagusah's pledge. The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder also is ranked as the top prospect in Illi- nois and the No. 6 overall player nation- ally by On3. Jagusah did not formally announce a group of top schools before his commit- ment, but he took official visits to Ar- kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Notre Dame in June. He needed about a week after his final official visit — which was to South Bend — to make up his mind on a school. "I've been thinking about it, and it was a tough decision, for sure," Jagusah told Blue & Gold Illustrated before an- nouncing his pledge. "These schools offer different things, and it really came down to where Notre Dame's program is at. They're building something special. "It's a really good fit educationally for me, and even though I haven't known Coach Hiestand for a long time, he's a legit dude and shoots straight with ev- eryone. He's someone I connected with well. "The Michigan visit went super well, but it came down to that I felt like the stability is more solid at Notre Dame, and I can see myself playing there." Jagusah woke up June 27 with the feeling that it was time to commit. Notre Dame had long been considered the team to beat for him, and he in- formed the Irish staff of his decision that morning. "I got on the phone with Coach Hi- estand and then Coach [Marcus] Free- man," Jagusah said. "They were pretty fired up. Coach Freeman said that this is the place that will help me not just in football but after football, too." South Bend is about a four-hour drive from Jagusah's hometown, and it's defi- nitely a place that his family and friends can drive to fairly easily to see him play. "It wasn't the biggest part of the de- cision, but it's definitely something I thought about," he said of the distance. The "Offensive Line U" label that Notre Dame carries and the academic prestige also helped the Irish land Jagusah. "It was the right fit academically, and that was a big reason why I chose Notre Dame," Jagusah said. "And when you have offensive linemen coming back all the time who are Pro Bowlers or future Hall of Famers, that definitely doesn't hurt. "I feel like Coach Hiestand is the guy to get me to where I want to go." Jagusah feels a weight lifted off his shoulders now that he has ended his recruiting process. "It's more relief than anything," he said. "It's nice to get it off my chest, have a plan and commit to it." Jagusah, who is committed to playing in the 2023 All-American Bowl in San Antonio next January, also had a perfect 41-0 season as a wrestler in the heavy- weight class and won the 2021 state title in the Class A division. Jagusah was named the 2022 Quad- City Times Male Athlete of the Year. He is the first non-senior to receive the honor in more than a decade, per the QC Times. ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE CHARLES JAGUSAH Five-Star Offensive Tackle Is Ready To Be Part Of 'Something Special' FILM ANALYSIS "We've had Charles Jagusah tabbed as the top-rated offensive tackle in the 2023 On3 rankings since the initial release last summer. His movement skills and functional athleticism immediately stuck out along the offensive line despite his early offers primarily being as a defensive lineman. Jagusah has held on to that spot in what looks to be a very strong cycle for offensive linemen. "He's continued to show progress as a player on Friday nights. Jagusah's reactive quickness, coordina - tion, natural balance and strong base stand out relative to his peers. We also saw him turn in a dominant undefeated season as a heavyweight wrestler during his junior year. The balance and focus on the technical aspect of wrestling translates to playing offensive line. His frame checks out as well at a verified 6-foot-6, 300 pounds with length and big hands. Jagusah may need some time to adjust to increased speed of the game as he doesn't face top competition at the high school level." — On3 director of scouting and rankings Charles Power "I've been thinking about it, and it was a tough decision, for sure. … It really came down to where Notre Dame's program is at. They're building something special." JAGUSAH On3 rates Jagusah as a five-star talent, the No. 1 prospect in Illinois, and the No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 6 overall player nationally. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLES JAGUSAH

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