Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

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

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Page 44 of 55 SEPT. 17, 2022 45 PREP PROFILES Many pundits believe that Jefferson (Ga.) High class of 2024 linebacker Sammy Brown will likely end up play- ing his college ball in the South, but the Notre Dame coaching staff is doing their best to not let that happen. The Irish have a strong linebacker pedigree, with head coach Marcus Free- man previously playing and coaching the position, defensive coordinator Al Golden coaching the spot for the Cin- cinnati Bengals, defensive line coach Al Washington previously serving as the linebackers coach at Ohio State and graduate assistant James Laurinaitis be- ing one of the best linebackers in college football history. "It's been really good," the elite pros- pect said of his contact with Notre Dame. "That's a linebacker-minded coaching staff, and I've been talking to Coach Golden a lot. With Coach Laurinaitis, we've been keeping in good touch, and I have a good relationship with him. I've hit it off with him." Laurinaitis played in the NFL from 2009-16 and recorded 869 total tackles. He was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten performer at Ohio State and won the Butkus Award in 2007. W h e n L a u r i n a i t i s ta l ks, re c r u i ts listen. "When he speaks, it is valid and im- portant," Brown added. "I watched highlights of him at Ohio State, and he was really good. He was passionate about the game and gave it 100 percent every single play." Golden's veteran presence has an im- pact as well. "He's really detail-oriented and fo- cuses on things that you wouldn't even think are that important, but they are," he said. "One thing we talked about when I visited there [over the summer] was forcing fumbles and the details of how to make that happen. He has a re- ally good thing going on the defensive side for Notre Dame." Brown is in no rush to make a decision on which school he wants to pick at the next level. "Probably what we're going to do is drop a top 12 after the season," said Brown, commenting on his recruiting timeline. "And then I'd do a top five in the spring. I'll take official visits and then make a commitment before the start of my senior season." Brown, who visited Notre Dame in June, is the No. 2 linebacker and No. 24 overall prospect in the country per On3. — Mike Singer Cornerback Kaleb Beasley is known as a top Notre Dame target in the 2024 class, but Fighting Irish fans also need to learn more about his teammate. Nashville (Tenn.) Lipscomb Academy 2024 linebacker Edwin Spillman is an- other key prospect for the Irish staff. The four-star recruit got an offer from Notre Dame on St. Patrick's Day and has kept in good contact with the staff since. "It's been a lot of back-and-forth communication and talking about them getting me up there for a visit to see what Notre Dame is about," Spillman told Blue & Gold Illustrated following his high school game Aug. 19. While he hasn't been able to meet them in-person yet, Spillman talks of- ten with and speaks highly of Irish di- rector of recruiting Chad Bowden and graduate assistant James Laurinaitis. "I love them," Spillman said. "They're both great men. Coach Laurinaitis said that he used to coach at our rival high school CPA [Christ Presbyterian Acad- emy]. He's familiar with the area in Nashville, which is pretty cool." Spillman won't be able to take his in- terest in Notre Dame to the next level until he gets up to campus to see it with his own two eyes. He's hoping to visit South Bend this fall for a game. "I know about the rich history of the football program and how beneficial it is academically," he said. The 6-1, 220-pounder notes that he's in contact the most with Note Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas A&M. He wants to see all four programs in the fall. On3's own rankings have Spillman as the No. 2 recruit in Tennessee, and the No. 13 linebacker and No. 166 overall prospect nationally. "I bring a lot of energy, tackle and hit hard," he said. "I communicate with our entire defense, and I'm a good leader." Lipscomb Academy got off to a hot start this season, knocking off Georgia powerhouse Milton 17-7 and defending 7A Alabama state champions Thomp- son 24-14. BGI was at the Lipscomb Academy vs. Milton matchup, and Spillman was superb — flying around, making tackles from sideline to sideline. His head coach Trent Dilfer, a for- mer NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion, had prepared his players to perform at this level. "We've put in a lot of hard work to get here," Spillman added. "Coach Dilfer was on us every single day about this situation and how we can't take any- thing for granted." Michigan, Georgia, Auburn, Arkan- sas, Michigan State and Oklahoma are among the other schools that have of- fered Spillman. — Mike Singer Elite 2024 LB Raves About ND's 'Linebacker-Minded' Staff Four-Star Defender Loves Fighting Irish Staff EDWIN SPILLMAN ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Lipscomb Academy Nashville, Tenn. Status: Offered Class: 2024 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 220 On3 Rankings: No. 2 player in Tennessee, and No. 13 line- backer and No. 166 overall player nationally SAMMY BROWN ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Jefferson H.S. Jefferson, Ga. Status: Offered Class: 2024 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-2.5 • Wt.: 225 On3 Rankings: No. 4 player in Georgia, and No. 2 linebacker and No. 24 overall player nationally

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