Notre Dame picked up one of the more significant commitments for the class of 2022 cycle earlier this week when Steve Angeli, a 4-star recruit on Rivals, selected the Irish over an impressive list of other programs that also offered the New Jersey signal-caller. While there’s been some predictable fan angst over the fact that Angeli is only a composite 3-star recruit on 247 at the moment, he is THE quarterback the Notre Dame staff wanted. They got the guy that they wanted, and that should not be overlooked.
There’s been some criticism from fans and some analysts for how Notre Dame handled its quarterback recruiting regarding some late offers to top-100 recruits like Ty Simpson and Drew Allar. Still, Steve Angeli was the very first quarterback that Notre Dame offered for the class of 2022 back in August. From that point on, it was pretty clear that Angeli was their number one priority at the position.
Over the last two months, Notre Dame did expand its quarterback board a bit with the Simpson and Allar offers, but it still felt like Angeli was the guy they wanted. And they got him. Notre Dame fans should be excited.
Steve Angeli isn’t some low 3-star flier that Notre Dame is taking a big chance on. Ohio State offered him. So did LSU. So did Penn State, Michigan, and Stanford. That’s an impressive offer list with offers from programs that also know a few things about quarterbacks.
Part of the issue behind Angeli’s rankings is related to the offense that he plays in. Bergen Catholic, one of the best programs in the state of New Jersey, ran the ball more than 65% of the time in their COVID-shortened 2020 season. So Angeli’s stats look pretty pedestrian. He threw for 919 yards and 6 touchdowns with 3 interceptions in six games. Notre Dame offered Angeli before his junior season, though, because they saw enough in him to know he was a quarterback they wanted.
At 6’3”, 215 lbs, with plenty of arm talent, Angeli has all the tools to be a great college quarterback. He’s by no means a finished product, making his projection difficult for fans or recruiting analysts who look at some film and want to make definitive statements about how he will develop or how Notre Dame wasn’t wise to push for his commitment. This is a case where I’ll trust the Notre Dame coaching staff’s evaluation and projection over any analysts’.
The Notre Dame coachings staff saw enough in Angeli to offer early and enough to project him to be the kind of player who can lead the Irish offense in the future. Because he is raw, he might not be the kind of player who challenges for a starting role on day one, but the depth Notre Dame has at quarterback should hopefully make for that to be unnecessary anyway. Angeli will have time to develop at Notre Dame and will get a head start on that by enrolling early in January 2022.
We’ve seen Notre Dame take some fliers on quarterbacks before, but it’s usually been after they lost out on the quarterbacks from the top of their board and were left scrambling. That is not what happened here by any means. Angeli was the first quarterback they offered for the class. He is a player that the staff very much wanted to be the guy for their 2022 class.
And for those obsessed with star ratings and rankings. Angeli is currently ranked #375 overall in the country on 247Sports. Joe Burrow was #280 overall in 2015, and Mac Jones was #399 overall and the #17 pro-style quarterback. Angeli just so happens to also be the #17 pro-style quarterback at the moment. You may recall that Burrow and Jones both took time to crack the starting lineup, but they turned out to be alright. Angeli’s rankings are subject to change as well – and they likely will with a strong senior season.
The bottom line here is that Notre Dame landed the quarterback that they wanted – maybe not the one that some fans or analysts thought they should. Fans are fans, and analysts are analysts, though, because they aren’t coaches. Tommy Rees and Brian Kelly targetted Steve Angeli very early on, and they got their guy.