Notre Dame kicked off the 2022 class in impressive fashion, with the Irish landing Zionsville (Ind.) High School offensive tackle Joey Tanona. Tanona is one of the nation’s best rising junior offensive linemen, and he’s an in-state player, so getting him in the fold early on was important for the Notre Dame staff.
Tanona had offers from Ohio State, LSU, Penn State, Michigan, Tennessee, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State, Arizona State, Indiana and Kansas State.
Let’s take a look at what the commitment of Tanona means for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame landed two very talented linemen in the 2020 class (Tosh Baker, Michael Carmody), and the 2021 class has three players, including standout Blake Fisher. Notre Dame is in good position to land Top 100 guard Rocco Spindler, but the Irish staff must still seal the deal in that recruitment, and Michigan and Penn State aren’t giving up on him.
Even with Spindler, the 2021 class is going to come up short of expectations. Without him the class is below average. There is upside and talent in the class, but Notre Dame missed out on too many top-level talents. That puts a great deal of pressure on the 2022 class. Notre Dame must combine numbers with high-level talent.
That is a big part of why the pick up of Tanona is so important for Notre Dame. It means Notre Dame is kicking off its line class with one of the best offensive tackles in the entire Midwest, if not the nation. It’s hard to think of a better way to start the line class, as Tanona now gives the staff a player for which to gauge the rest of the class.
Notre Dame now must add players with his ability and better to the class.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Tanona plays left tackle for Zionsville, and even at a young age he shows traits that project well to the edge of the line. First and foremost, he’s listed at 280 pounds, but he’s still relatively thin. If his weight is in fact near 280 pounds, it means Tanona will fill out that frame quite nicely, and will easily get to over 300 pounds.
The Zionsville star is athletic for his age. He shows an impressive burst off the line, he quickly gets to the edge and he’s comfortable working on the second level. Athletically he has all the traits needed to thrive in pass pro on the edge, possessing quick feet out of his stance and easy change of direction skills.
My only question about Tanona staying at tackle is his length. It’s hard to gauge his length on film, and if he does in fact have the length the Irish staff desires he could easily stick outside because of his athleticism and punch.
Tanona is strong for his age, which combines well with his quickness to make him effective in the run game. As he gets stronger and fills out his frame he should become a dominant force in the run game. Tanona must continue to work on pad level, footwork, using his hands more forcefully and playing with better angles, but those are all traits that are coachable, and he’s at a good place for his age.
I expect his game to make major leaps over the next two seasons, and as it does this pickup will become even better.
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