Blue and Gold Illustrated

October 28, 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM OCT. 28, 2023 51 FOOTBALL RECRUITING "They really want me there," Flani- gan said. "I'm their No. 1 guy at tight end and then also D-end." Flanigan plays tight end and middle linebacker for Notre Dame de la Baie. During a 68-0 blowout victory over Green Bay (Wis.) East High in Septem- ber, Flanigan had 3 receptions for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 3 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble on defense. It was just h i s se co n d ga m e back from a pre- season hamstring injury. According to Flanigan, he does not have a positional preference. It's wher- ever he fits best. Still, he feels most confident in his tight end abilities since he does not play on the D-line in high school. And his high school coach, Mi- chael Rader, projects him to play tight end at the next level, too. "Most schools see him at tight end," Rader said. "That's a pretty common question I get right now. He has the body type for a college tight end. "At the high school level, if we could play him more than every play of the game, we would. He's the best athlete out there in almost every single situ- ation." Flanigan is a state champion hockey player. He also captured a Wisconsin Division II state championship in the discus throw with a personal record 177-foot, 10-inch mark. His athleticism is undeniable. Off the field, Flanigan excels, too. He's a team captain, and his leadership skills are evident. Throughout a prac- tice this fall, he shared words of en- couragement with his teammates in the right spots. Every one of his words was intentional. But developing that voice did not come as easy as catching passes. "That's been a growth opportunity for him this year, and he's stepping up into it pretty well," Rader said. "For him to be a team captain as a junior, that's pretty rare for us. It's very de- serving. He leads by example and has since Day 1. "Now, he's taking that next level of leadership. He's generally the hardest worker out there on the field, in the weight room, or any training thing we do. He's a great student and a great kid. He's got the complete package." Flanigan's father is the team's D-line coach. And the 10-year NFL veteran has no trouble using his voice on the practice field. But he stayed out of his son's way, only offering observations to his positional players. At home, foot- ball seldom comes up. They'll some- t i m e s ta l k a b o u t practice over din- ner. The elder Fla- n i ga n p rev i o u s ly mentioned his time playing for for- mer Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz and interchanging from linebacker to defensive line. Any other feedback about attending Notre Dame has been standard. Flanigan has gathered more about his father's time in South Bend from his actions rather than words. "He's just preached about the tra- dition at Notre Dame," Flanigan said. "He's also big into academics. He's a really smart guy. You can tell that be- cause he's very motivated. He hasn't just been a football player during his life. Now he's into business and the company that he's started. "His message is that Notre Dame is more than just football." The elder Flanigan has also taken a hands-off approach to his son's re- cruitment. He's traveled with his son to Michigan, Penn State and Wiscon- sin. Flanigan has also been to Stanford and Minnesota once. According to Fla- nigan, his father has not steered him toward one school or another. He just wants what's best for his son. Since his college recruitment began about a year ago, Flanigan has never felt pressured to follow his father's footsteps to the University of Notre Dame. But his family has laid the foun- dation for the bloodlines to settle in South Bend again. And he has his dad's mindset to determine if becoming Irish would indeed be his best college choice. "It would definitely be hard to say no," Flanigan said. "Going forward, it's going to be a hard decision. … In my mind, ever since a young age, it's al- ways been whatever place is best for me. That's kind of how I'm going right now." ✦ Flanigan, who is the No. 9 tight end and No. 229 overall player nationally in the junior class per On3, has double-digit offers from Power Five schools but is focused on Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Stanford. PHOTO BY KYLE KELLY "It would definitely be hard to say no. Going forward, it's going to be a hard decision." FLANIGAN ON HIS NOTRE DAME RECRUITMENT

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