Notre Dame won one of the most protracted back and forth recruiting battles I can ever remember since joining up with Kyle to run UHND 22 years ago on Friday when Billy Schrauth committed to the Irish. The commit gave Notre Dame four top-200 overall offensive linemen and five total OL in the class of 2022, giving the Irish perhaps the best offensive line class in the country.
It looked like Notre Dame would win a rare battle over Wisconsin for an in-state lineman well over a year ago, but then the Schrauth commitment started to drag on and on. At times, insiders felt that Wisconsin had withstood the storm and would keep Schrauth in the state as they have with pretty much every elite lineman from Wisconsin in the last 30 years. But then, the tide started to turn back in Notre Dame’s favor during the season, and the Irish’s new closer helped seal the deal.
When Marcus Freeman was introduced as the next head football coach at Notre Dame, he emphatically stated that he better be the #1 recruiter for every prospect the Irish are targeting. He wasted little time proving that wasn’t just lip service. Shortly after Freeman’s presser ended, he met Tommy Rees at South Bend International Airport and boarded the private jet to fly to Wisconsin and visit Schrauth.
Freeman and Rees sealed the seal while Quinn was not reportedly part of the visit. That absence is speaking perhaps as loud as anything regarding Quinn’s chances of staying with Notre Dame after the bowl game.
Still, if Quinn is not retained, it won’t be because of his recruiting. With Schrauth onboard, the Irish have a ridiculous collection of riches along the line in the last two classes. Assuming all five currently committed linemen sign with the Irish – and all signs point that – Notre Dame will have added ten offensive linemen in the last two classes, with seven of them being 4-star recruits. And one of the lowest-rated, Joe Alt, was named a Freshman All-American this week.
|#128 Amil Wagner|
#136 Ty Chan
#153 Joey Tanona
#171 Billy Schrauth
#513 Ashton Craig
|#55 Blake Fisher|
#60 Rocco Spindler
#323 Caleb Johnson
#407 Joe Alt
#612 Pat Coogan
Despite being the subject of a large number of Notre Dame fan’s eyre, Jeff Quinn has collected a treasure trove of talented linemen for Notre Dame over the last two years. And two classes ago, Notre Dame landed Zeke Correll and Andrew Kristofic – two likely starters in 2022, assuming Jarrett Patterson leaves for the NFL.
It’s fair to question whether the early season struggles for the offense could have been avoided if the line was stabilized from the beginning of the year, but none of us truly know whose call it was to start Correl at guard when it seemed clear center was his best position. Or had Joe Alt been inserted at left tackle against Florida State when Fisher was hurt instead of waiting until the Virginia Tech game. Still, it’s not fair to question whether or not Jeff Quinn can recruit elite linemen based on the last two classes at Notre Dame.
Four top 200 overall offensive linemen in one class are almost unheard of. The quartet gives Notre Dame four of the top 27 offensive line prospects per the 247 Sports composite rankings. At the moment, Alabama has two. Texas A&M and LSU have two as well. No one else has more than one in the top 27. Notre Dame has four.
There are three positions in the class of 2022 that Notre Dame has recruited as good or better than anyone else in the country. The offensive line is undoubtedly one, while linebacker and tight end should be considered there as well.