Notre Dame picked up a commitment from West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley tight end Eli Raridon. The Irish wanted and needed impact tight ends in the 2022 class, and Raridon gives them just that.
Let's take a look at what the commitment of Raridon means for the Notre Dame recruiting class and his fit in the Fighting Irish offense.
NOTRE DAME CLASS IMPACT
Raridon is the 12th player to commit to Notre Dame in the 2022 class and the sixth offensive recruit. He's a consensus three-star recruit according to the services, so his commitment won't give the class a boost from a rankings standpoint.
From a practical standpoint, based on his talent and ignoring rankings, this is a big pickup for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame's current tight end depth chart is pretty stacked, but it won't be quite as loaded once Raridon arrives, and it will be even more depleted by his second season. The Irish will lose George Takacs following the 2021 season and likely Michael Mayer a season later.
Notre Dame certainly needed one tight end in the class, but the ideal scenario is two high-level tight end prospects, and Raridon certainly fits that bill.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Notre Dame certainly loves throwing to the tight end, but the best tight ends are those who have been able to move around and make plays from different alignments.
That is what makes Raridon such a strong fit in the Irish offense. He can line up outside and use his size and ball skills to beat corners or safeties. He's a matchup problem in the slot against linebackers due to his speed and size. Raridon isn't a guy you'll put attached right now, but as he fills out that will become part of his repertoire as well.
Raridon will need to fill out and add to his 225-pound frame, but he's a physical player that is more than willing to get after it in the run game. Once he fills out and adds some college strength he'll be a strong all-around pass catcher that can stretch the field, move the chains and handle himself in the run game.
"The first thing you'll notice when watching Raridon's film is his size. He's every bit of 6-6, possessing above average arm length to go along with that height.
"Although he'll need to add a good amount of weight and strength to his frame, Raridon certainly has the body to get there. Raridon has a frame that reminds me a lot of former Notre Dame standout Kyle Rudolph at the same age. Rudolph was also a 6-6, 225-pound two-sport athlete that shined on the basketball court, which helped keep his weight down. Raridon scored over 17 points per game on the hardwood for Valley this past season.
"Once Rudolph stopped playing basketball he easily put on good weight and added strength, finishing his Notre Dame career at 265 pounds. Raridon is a willing blocker already, showing a good punch, impressive leg drive and toughness. As he adds more size and strength this will become an even bigger part of his game.
"Raridon shows good vertical speed, and as expected impressive footwork, agility and balance for a big player. You can see those traits on the football field and the basketball court. The Valley standout has some bounce, something you see even more on the basketball court. Combine that with his size, length and excellent hands he's a major weapon in the pass game.
"The Valley standout still needs a lot of technical work. His get off is a bit inconsistent, and he needs to get more bend as he works vertically, which will help him be more sharp with his routes. As that part of his game improves he'll become extremely difficult to guard."
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