Notre Dame scored another big-time recruiting win on Monday night with the addition of 4-star linebacker Jaylen Sneed. The top-100 overall recruit selected Notre Dame had Tennessee, Oregon, and Texas A&M among his finalists earlier in the process, but this came down to a Notre Dame – Oregon battle with the Irish coming out on top.
Sneed is ranked 70th overall in the country and 8th at linebacker in the 247Sports composite rankings, giving Notre Dame a total of four 4-star linebackers in this cycle alone. While Oregon was Notre Dame’s main threat for Sneed’s commitment today, there were a host of other programs vying for Sneed on the recruiting trail this year. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Texas, and USC all offered in addition to a lot of other Power 5 programs.
Sneed is now the highest-rated commitment for Notre Dame for the class of 2022 at 70th overall in the composite rankings. Niuafe “Junior” Tuihalamaka was the highest-rated previously at #107. The only more highly rated prospects left on the Notre Dame board at OT Zach Rice (#5), S Xavier Nwankpa (#54), and DE Cyrus Moss (#56). Wide receiver CJ Williams, who many believe Notre Dame leads for, checks in just behind Sneed at #73.
Sneed checks in a 6’2”, 210 lbs heading into his senior season for Hilton Head HS in South Carolina and realistically could play any of the three linebacker positions in Notre Dame’s defense depending on how he develops. He has that kind of athleticism. Some have compared him to 2020 Butkus Award winner Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah though Sneed will ultimately be a bigger player since he’s already 210 lbs. He’s known for being an elite pass rusher so its likely Freeman uses him in a variety of different ways.
Prior to Marcus Freeman being named the defensive coordinator for Notre Dame, the Irish were not considered a serious threat for Sneed. They didn’t even offer him until Freeman was hired. Since then, however, Freeman’s done a masterful job in putting Notre Dame in a position to close on a top-100 linebacker.
Ever since Sneed took a self-guided tour of Notre Dame in the spring before the COVID imposed dead period was lifted, Notre Dame’s been considered to be in the driver’s seat for Sneed’s recruitment. His official visit in mid-June only served to seal the deal it appears.
Sneed’s recruitment is not the typical recruitment for Notre Dame. It’s rare for Notre Dame to get in on a top-100 caliber player later than other programs and come away with a commitment. It’s been more commonplace, however, since Freeman arrived earlier this year.
With Sneed’s commitment, Notre Dame has four linebackers in this year’s class and all of them have 4-star ratings. Niuafe “Junior” Tuihalamaka, Joshua Burnham, and Nolan Zeigler round out the quartet. All but Zeigler committed to Notre Dame after Freeman arrived.
Notre Dame is back to 18 commitments overall following Sunday’s decommitment from defensive end Darren Agu. The raw but up-and-coming pass rusher announced he decommitted from Notre Dame last night with reports of him looking for a program with a more favorable depth chart for early playing time.
Notre Dame moved back into 2nd place in the 247Sports team rankings with Sneed’s commitment.