Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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42 NOV. 4, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY KYLE KELLY Irish bloodlines bore fruit for the Notre Dame football program again Oct. 21 when class of 2025 four-star tight end James Flanigan announced his Fighting Irish verbal commitment. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Flanigan is the No. 1 prospect in Wisconsin, and the No. 5 tight end and No. 92 overall player in the country per On3. Flanigan's father, Jim, starred for the Irish defensive line in the early 1990s. After the Chicago Bears drafted him at No. 74 overall in the same draft as Bryant Young, the elder Flanigan went on to have a nine-year NFL career. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2000. After playing professionally, Jim Fla- nigan settled in Green Bay, Wis. The younger Flanigan resides there and at- tends Notre Dame de la Baie Academy. His college football recruitment began last fall when he visited Minnesota and Wisconsin. On Jan. 28, the Badgers became the first school to offer Flanigan a scholar- ship. The Irish were the second, offering him March 17 during their Pot of Gold Day campaign. Flanigan first visited Notre Dame March 25. Since then, he has returned to campus for most major recruit- ing events. He attended the Blue-Gold Game April 22 and the "Grill & Chill" cookout July 30. He chose to visit Notre Dame for the USC game Oct. 14, which marked the first time he saw a regular-season game at Notre Dame Stadium. Flanigan also visited Michigan and Stanford on 2023 game days, but his return trip to South Bend was unmatched. "It was crazy because we were sitting probably in the second row from the field," he told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "There were touchdowns right in front of us. Then, looking up in the student section, they were doing pushups. It was actually wild." During the 2022 football season, Fla- nigan went to Minnesota and Wisconsin for game-day visits. He also reported an unofficial visit to Penn State and offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville and Missouri. The Badgers hosted him three times total, while he also made previ- ous trips to Stanford and Michigan. But the Irish ultimately won him over after beating USC. "I see the potential to be a great team, one of the greatest ever," Flanigan said. "I want to go out there and win the na- tional championship. That's going to be hard, but that's my vision." As a junior, Flanigan had 17 recep- tions for 377 yards (22.2 yards per catch) and 6 touchdowns through eight games. He also played middle linebacker and registered 39 tackles (21 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles. On Oct. 19, the Fox River Classic Con- ference-South named Flanigan a first- team all-conference tight end and line- backer. He also earned those honors last year (second team as a linebacker) while reeling in conference Receiver of the Year and all-region tight end accolades. As a sophomore, he hauled in 22 passes for 520 yards and 9 touchdowns. On defense, he recorded 66 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. During the spring of his sophomore year, he won the Wisconsin Division II state championship in the discus with a personal record throw of 177 feet, 10 inches. He finished second in the state championship shot put competition with a 52-foot, 7¼-inch toss. That was also a personal record. In addition, he helped guide his high school to a state championship in hockey. Flanigan scored 13 goals and had 19 assists in 22 games. He also played AAA travel hockey, comparable to the top AAU basketball competition. ✦ Notre Dame Legacy Recruit Follows In His Father's Footsteps COMMITMENT PROFILE JAMES FLANIGAN FILM ANALYSIS "Flanigan popped up on our radar during the summer. Some of the physical development we could see in photos of him on his summer visits compared to his sophomore year were eye-popping. "His junior tape has been extremely enjoyable to watch. As you'd expect, he's an ass-kicker in the run game. Flanigan finishes blocks consistently and is an absolute beast to get on the ground after the catch. You can also see the overall movement skills shine when he's in space. He has solid burst and twitch off the line of scrimmage. You can see the explosiveness in his game on the defensive side of the ball as an off-ball linebacker when he closes to the football. "As a pass catcher, he has limited opportunities in the offense, but in the few attempts he gets, he's shown off comfortable, strong hands. We will need to see more from him as a pass catcher to deter- mine his upside fully, but he's a total stud with the ball in his hands and as a blocker." — On3 scouting and rankings assistant Cody Bellaire Flanigan, On3's No. 5 tight end and No. 92 overall player in the 2025 class, verbally committed to Notre Dame Oct. 21. PHOTO BY KYLE KELLY

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