Margin for Error Reduced, But Path to Elite Offensive Class Still There for Notre Dame

The month of June produced a few commitments for Notre Dame but not exactly the flurry of commitments that many predicted. A few top prospects that were trending towards the Irish are now even trending away.  That said, Notre Dame can still land an elite class though the margin for error by the offensive recruiting staff has been reduced.  Here’s a rundown of where the Irish stand on offense coming out of the June official visit blitz.

Quarterback 

Notre Dame was locked and loaded with Steve Angelli before and after June.  Argue Notre Dame’s evaluation all you want, but Angelli was Notre Dame’s first offer at quarterback, and he was the signal-caller that the staff wanted.  The Irish got him and had him on campus this month. 

Running Back

Notre Dame entered the month of June with a Big Three at running back.  They will likely miss on all three as things stand now.  Gavin Sawchuck committed to Oklahoma before he visited Notre Dame.  Dallan Hayden had a great visit to Notre Dame, but it wasn’t enough to sway him from Ohio State.  Nicholas Singleton was widely reported as a heavy Notre Dame lean following visits to Notre Dame and Penn State, but the pendulum swung back in Penn State’s favor with Singleton set to announce his decision on July 6. 

There’s been some understandable handwringing over this by Notre Dame fans since it looked like Singleton, a top-100 overall prospect, would be a member of the class.  Notre Dame already has a great back in this class in Jadarian Price, though adding a second back is a luxury. 

It will be interesting to see if Notre Dame expands their board next week if Singleton selects Penn State.  Remember, at this time last year, Audric Estime was not really on Notre Dame’s radar.  

Wide Receiver

Notre Dame has the most work to do on the offensive side of the ball yet at receiver, but there’s a path towards another steller WR haul.  The only receiver committed before and after June is Amorion Walker.  The “3-star” prospect saw his profile start to explode last month.  Alabama offered.  Then Michigan offered.  Then LSU offered.  Then he was named an Under Armour All-American.  For all the handwringing going on about Del Alexander, remember his evaluation of Walker got Notre Dame involved before almost everyone else, and it looks like the Irish have a potential steal.  

After Walker, there’s work to do.  At one point in June, it looked like Notre Dame could have receiver recruiting wrapped up in short order with top-100 overall prospect CJ Williams and 4-star receivers Tobias Merriweather and Nicholas Anderson. Still, yesterday, Anderson committed to Oregon even though all the experts had him pegged for Notre Dame.  Luckily, Merriweather and Williams still look relatively good for Notre Dame, though, at this point, there will be a lot of sweating in the Gug until they make things official – assuming they do.  

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If Notre Dame ends the summer with a trio of Walker/Williams/Merriweather, they will be in fantastic shape.  Top 150 overall prospect Andre Greene Jr is set to visit for the Cincinnati game, and if the Irish were to add Greene, they’d have a ridiculous haul at receiver. Of course, that’s far from a given since Greene’s recruitment will likely stretch late, but it’s not inconceivable. 

Epic Ayomanor out of Massachusetts is another receiver to keep an eye on.  He’s another under-the-radar recruit like Walker was, but he camped at Notre Dame for the Irish Invasion and left with an offer.  He made his official visit to Notre Dame on June 18.  Notre Dame is the only school that’s taken notice of him, either.  Tennessee, Penn State, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all offered as well.  

If Notre Dame misses on either Merriweather or Williams, that’s when things get dicey.  Until then, though, there isn’t a reason for panic just yet.  

Tight End

Notre Dame already had Holden Staes and Eli Raridon locked up before June and after hosting both for official visits, they still do.  States and Raridon were top-of-the-board tight ends for the Irish, and Notre Dame couldn’t have asked for much better of a duo at tight end.  

Offensive Line

June was supposed to be all about the Wisconsin trio along the offensive line, but the narrative shifted dramatically and possibly for the good.  There was a buzz that Notre Dame might be able to sway Billy Schrauth, Carson Hinzman, and Joe Brunner to Notre Dame.  That did not happen.  Brunner committed to Wisconsin last week.  Hinzman does not look likely for Notre Dame at all.  Schrauth, a long-time Notre Dame lean, still hasn’t pulled the trigger, and now the Irish are locked in a battle with Wisconsin for him. 

Sounds terrible, right?  Well, it’s not all bad.  Notre Dame added a commitment from Ashton Craig last week.  The three-star lineman camped at Notre Dame earlier this year, and the Irish staff liked what they saw.  The Ohio State staff did as well, and there was scuttlebutt the Buckeyes were close to offering too.  Those who know offensive line play much better than I, such as ISD’s Jamie Uyeyama, have compared Craig to Jarrett Patterson.  That works for me, and it should work for you too. 

With Craig on board, Notre Dame has three OL committed for 2022 – Joey Tanona and Ty Chan being the other two (both 4-star, top 250 prospects).  While the Irish faded with the Wisconsin trio, they made moves with 4-star OT Aamil Wagner and 5-star OT Zach Rice.  The Irish still have work to do on both, but they are in great shape if they land either of those two.  

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Notre Dame still could add Schrauth as well.  They are locked in a battle with Wisconsin right now, but the longer it lingers, the better, I think for Notre Dame.  His visit to Wisconsin swung things, so the further removed from that visit, the better. 

In an ideal world, Notre Dame would have had a few more of these recruits locked up by now, but the path is still very much there for a monster haul on offense.  It might not contain two elite backs like once thought, but it should add difference makers at every level and more than sufficiently fill the needs the class had coming in.  Things can change in a hurry with recruiting, as we’ve seen in the last week, but there is no reason to panic yet for Notre Dame fans.  

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