Notre Dame picked up one of the top sleepers in the 2022 class back in August when it landed linebacker Nolan Ziegler.
NOLAN ZIEGLER PROFILE
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
High School: Catholic Central
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 200 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
Offers: Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Cincinnati
Recruited By: Clark Lea
247Sports: 4-star - No. 17 safety
Rivals: 4-star - No. 20 athlete
ESPN: 4-star - No. 36 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 302 overall - No. 18 safety
When Ziegler first committed to Notre Dame I saw a player on film that was raw, but also one that was athletic, had a great frame and one that had a lot of upside. As a junior, Ziegler started to turn that upside and potential into even greater production and impressive play.
The first thing that stands out about Ziegler is his combination of length and athleticism. He's listed between 6-3 to 6-4, and he has very long arms, plus the kind of frame that should allow him to add plenty of weight. He's a tough young defender that shows impressive natural pop, but as one would expect of a junior that weighs 205 pounds, there is still plenty of work needed from a strength and size standpoint.
Ziegler is an impressive athlete. He's fluid and shows easy change of direction skills, but he can also explode downhill when he needs to do so. His balance is impressive, and his short-area quickness combines well with his long speed to make him an incredibly rangy defender on the second level.
Ziegler is physical and more than willing to mix it up as a defender and a blocker on offense. His length and strong hands allow him to keep blockers off his body, and he showed off impressive run game instincts as a junior. He needs technique work in coverage and he must show better route recognition, but he has the length and athleticism to become a dominant pass defender as a linebacker.
There is versatility to his game as well, as Ziegler shows traits that fit perfectly at rover, but he also has the frame, pop and instincts that would allow him to thrive as an inside linebacker as well.
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