Heading into Aamil Wagner’s announcement today, there was a widespread belief that the top-200 overall prospect would select Kentucky, where his brother is on the Wildcat staff. Wagner, the #134 overall ranked prospect in the country, surprised everyone though by selecting Notre Dame over Kentucky and Ohio State.
There are very few shockers in the recruiting world today, but this one certainly qualifies as one. No one saw a commitment for Notre Dame coming today with Wagner’s announcement, but that’s what we got. And a big commitment it is.
Wagner told 247Sports that he selected Notre Dame because the staff made it feel like family.
“I choose Notre Dame because the coaches made the university feel like home and I felt that Notre Dame can not only provide me with a great football career but can put me in the best position for life after football,” he said.247Sports, November 11, 2021
Wagner was part of Notre Dame’s massive recruiting weekend for the USC game. There was some pessimism regarding the results of that weekend regarding the class of 2022, but Wagner’s commitment changes that perception. Notre Dame is still working on pulling off a similar surprise with elite safety Xavier Nwankpa. Like Wagner with Kentucky, most feel that Nwankpa is a lock for Iowa at the moment.
Notre Dame had three offensive linemen committed for 2022 before Wagner joined the class. With Wagner, the Irish quartet is one of the best in the nation. Ty Chan and Joey Tannona are both composite 4-star prospects like Wagner, and Ashton Craig picked up a 4th star from 247 and could find himself a composite 4-star before all is said and done.
Wagner’s official final five included Notre Dame, Kentucky, Ohio State, Penn State, and Maryland, but he also held offers from Iowa, Michigan, Auburn, Michigan State, Oregon, and Stanford, among others. The Irish beat a family connection at Kentucky and an in-state connection with Ohio State to secure this big-time pickup.
Jeff Quinn and Tommy Rees deserve a ton of credit for their efforts in this recruitment. Given the connections for Wagner at Kentucky and the belief that he was all but a lock for Kentucky, it would have been easier for them to prioritize their efforts elsewhere, but they really ground this one out.
Notre Dame still has 4-star Billy Schrauth on their radar, but when and where that recruitment ends is still very unclear. It appears to be a dead-locked between Notre Dame and Wisconsin, but no one is sure how it will end. However, with Wagner’s commitment, Notre Dame is now in fine shape at offensive line even if Schrauth selects the Badgers.
Jeff Quinn has drawn the ire of many Notre Dame fans ever since being named Harry Hiestand’s successor. Some within the fanbase simply refuse to give him credit for anything positive that happens with the line while blaming him entirely for anything that goes wrong. Even the most staunch Quinn detractor, however, has to give him credit for this recruiting win.