DavidESPN released its first top 300 rankings for the class of 2021 over the weekend, and Notre Dame’s current commitments are well represented. Six of Notre Dame’s eight currently committed recruits were included in ESPN’s initial rankings with two in the top-100, although there were some surprises.
Here’s a quick rundown of who those six recruits are and where they rank:
- #39 – Tyler Buchner (QB)
- #51 – Cane Berrong (TE)
- #103 – Blake Fisher (OT)
- #163 – Gabriel Rubio (DT)
- #243 – Lorenzo Styles Jr (WR)
- #280 – David Abiara (DE)
The only two current Notre Dame commitments who are not in their top 300 are offensive lineman Pat Coogan and safety Justin Walters. Neither are in the Top247 from 247Sports or top 250 on Rivals either.
Of the six who are ranked by ESPN, it’s no surprise to see Tyler Buchner ranked as high as he is here. Buchner transferred high schools this off-season to play against better competition in 2020. Assuming he gets a full schedule of games this fall (and who knows what will happen with high school football), Buchner will have a chance to improve on that ranking. He is already a composite 5-star recruit on 247Sports, and his rankings should improve even more this year.
Cane Berrong coming comes in ranked a bit higher on ESPN than he is on other services right now, but there has been some hype building around him for a little while, with some believing he could be the top tight end in the country by the end of the year.
The first significant surprise with ESPN’s rankings is Blake Fisher all the way down at #103 overall. Fisher is a 5-star prospect on some services right now and generally considered one of Notre Dame’s best current commits along with Buchner.
Gabriel Rubio’s ranking is a bit lower than it is on other services, but his ESPN ranking isn’t that far off of where he falls elsewhere. Rivals ranks him just inside their top 100 at #99 overall, but 247Sports has him at #149 overall.
Like Fisher, Lorenzo Styles Jr’s ranking on ESPN is quite a bit further than where it is anywhere else. While ESPN has him ranked #243 overall, Rivals ranks Styles as the #37 overall player in the entire country. With the March decommitment of Deion Colzie, Styles became one of the most important recruits for Notre Dame to retain. Michigan has been pressing hard to flip Styles, but for now, it sounds as though he is firm in his commitment.
Rounding out Notre Dame’s current commits in the ranking is a pleasant surprise. David Abiara isn’t ranked by either Rivals or 247Sports right now but comes in at #280 overall. Abiara was the first commitment for Notre Dame after COVID-19 shut down recruiting. He’s still relatively raw but has the skillset (and offer list) to suggest that he has the potential to vastly outplay this ranking.
Some other recruits of interest for Notre Dame in the top 300 from ESPN include RB Will Shipley (#22), Colzie (#72), OL Rocco Spindler (#65), WR Donte Thornton (#90), CB Ceyair Wright (#109), and WR Jayden Thomas (#219) among others.
While Colzie has decommitted, he has not eliminated Notre Dame, and the Irish are still strong contenders for his services. Everyone knows the deal with Shipley by now. It’s Notre Dame vs. Clemson, and landing Shipley is imperative for Notre Dame to have any chance at the kind of class it’s hoping to haul in this year.