On Wednesday, Notre Dame signed a top-10 class, though most of the luster from an otherwise strong class was lost on three late defections and one big swing and miss on Signing Day. However, Notre Dame signed a stacked class full of players with extremely bright futures for the Irish despite the losses. There are a lot of fun players to choose from here, but here are six players I am excited to watch develop at Notre Dame.
Jadarian Price, RB
When Notre Dame missed on “the big three” at running back in the summer, there were big 2020 vibes when Notre Dame swung and missed at Will Shipley. Like 2020 though, Notre Dame ended up just fine at the position with Jadarian Price.
This was a case of an excellent evaluation by Lance Taylor. Price averaged 6.6 yards per carry as a junior before blowing up as a senior with a 9.3 avg on 193 carries. He ended the season with 1,803 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games. For his career, he totaled 55 touchdowns.
What is exciting about Price is he showed some incredible speed as a senior and looks like the next in line at running back for the Irish. Here he is ripping off an 84-yard touchdown where it doesn’t look like he should be able to make it through the hole.
And he did it again, folks. #NotreDame running back commit Jadarian Price with an 84-yard touchdown run following his 45-yard TD run and 29-yard TD catch & run earlier in the half. @Jadarian15 pic.twitter.com/gEykRguwTX— Kevin Sinclair (@KevinSinclair_) November 5, 2021
Eli Raridon, TE
When he committed to Notre Dame, he was one of the lowest-rated recruits in the class because the services hadn’t entirely caught up on what the coaches saw. However, Raridon has the looks of the next great Notre Dame tight end and has since rocketed up the rankings on all of the major recruiting services, including ranking #66 overall by 247.
He is a freakish athlete who excelled on the basketball court for his Valley HS squad in Des Moines, Iowa. Notre Dame has recruited the tight end position exceptionally well over the years, but the hype that has built around Raridon has been impossible to ignore.
After Mayer leaves for the NFL following the 2022 season as expected, it would not shock me at all if Raridon ends up being the heir-apparent.
Aiden Gobiara, DE
Ever since he committed earlier this year, Gobiara has been one of my favorites in the class because he is a freakishly long athlete. Originally a 3-star, Gobiara has moved up to 4-star status across services like Raridon.
Listed at 6’5”, 230 lbs by the University in their release today, Gobiara figures to be a weak-side pass rusher similar to Isaiah Foskey. If Foskey returns in 2022 as Notre Dame fans hope, Gobiara could slide into the lineup in 2023 to replace him.
Tobias Merriweather, WR
Every Notre Dame fan should love Tobias Merriweather after the Irish lost two other wide receiver commitments at the 11th hour. Not only did Merriweather stick with his pledge to Notre Dame even though it was his living room that Brian Kelly was in as news broke that he was leaving for LSU, but Notre Dame now desperately needs Merriweather to be a hit.
The good news for Notre Dame is that Merriweather had the highest ceiling of any of the three wide receivers Notre Dame had hoped to sign today. He might not be as polished as CJ Williams out of high school, but Merriweather has all the tools to be a legit #1 WR at the college level.
Nolan Zeigler, LB
Notre Dame signed one of the best linebacker classes they’ve had in 30 years today, so you can take your pick of which linebackers are the most exciting, but I went with Ziegler here because of his athleticism. He’s a linebacker who has also played safety and receiver. He reminds me a bit of Drue Tranquill in that regard.
As a senior, Ziegler had 120 tackles with 9 sacks and an INT on defense while adding 1,400 yards receiving and 25 TDs. That is ridiculous production on both sides of the ball, and once he’s on campus and can focus on a single position, I think the sky could be the limit for him.
Jaylen Sneed, LB
I am listing another linebacker here even though I probably should list an offensive lineman like Amil Wagner or Billy Schrauth, but Sneed is a rare recruit for Notre Dame to land. He’s a legit SEC-style linebacker out of the South. Notre Dame doesn’t win those battles often, but they did this year because of Marcus Freeman.
With his speed and athleticism, Sneed could be the next Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the Irish defense. Notre Dame just doesn’t sign athletes like Sneed all that often – hopefully something that changes under the recruiting guidance of Marcus Freeman.
Anyone recall the stunner of Rocket Ismail signing with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in 1991?
Owner Bruce McNall was a longtime crook, who was eventually jailed for fraud for 57 months.
Rocket never made the money he was promised in a web of convoluted, indirect side deals to go north.
After 2 years, he went to the NFL…but wasn’t worth nearly as much, having lost the Americvan public’s interest.
The Toronto franchise has ever since been the most irrelevant team in an irrelevant, struggling league.
But I’ll bet this NIL thing is nothing like any of that, and it will all work out just fine.
Deion Sanders just became the Don King of …ahem, “college”…..football.
And that’s the opposite of exciting.
It’s a truly sad day for anyone who ever gave a shit that ANY of these kids ever actually went to a class and maybe heard something that he might remember in his life.
It’s now a money-grabbing free for all, and the biggest prizes are in the south.
…..and Tom Brady is setting out to use NIL the same way Phil Knight/Nike started with NBA star George Gervin in 1977.
So enjoy this year’s bowls….as gawdawful as they are, they’re the last, struggled gasps of a great, naive era.