Notre Dame is looking to build the nation's best linebacker class, and Hilton Head (S.C.) High School linebacker Jaylen Sneed could be a key to making that happen.
Notre Dame is making a big push for Sneed, and the Irish are now in his group of final five schools.
Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Oregon. The Irish and Ducks are considered the top two programs for the 6-2, 210 linebacker.
Sneed is an excellent athletic athlete that played off-ball linebacker in 2019 before moving to the edge as a junior. He's an explosive, long, rangy athlete that could play in space just as effectively as he can come off the edge in a pass rush situation.
Right now I feel Notre Dame is in great position with Sneed, but closing will be the key.
Sneed also has offers from Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, USC, Texas, Florida State, Auburn, Michigan, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Iowa State, Arkansas, Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas State, Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Indiana, UCF and Syracuse.
Sneed graded out as a Top 100 recruit with 5-star upside on the Irish Breakdown board.
"Sneed isn’t the biggest linebacker, checking in at 6-2 and 215 pounds, but his length is impressive and he has plenty of room to fill out that frame. He shows a strong lower body and the potential to add a good 10-15 more pounds, which will only enhance his power and explosiveness.
"What makes him a top prospect at this point is his athleticism and upside. Sneed is an extremely explosive athlete, one with elite burst, impressive lateral quickness and good speed. Much like former Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Sneed likely won’t blow you away with an elite 40-yard dash time, but his initial burst, short-area quickness, change of direction and flexibility makes him play with exceptional speed.
"Sneed has the kind of foot quickness and downhill explosiveness that should allow him to eventually develop into an impactful inside linebacker. His range, length and instincts also lend to him being an effective player in space. Sneed is also an outstanding edge rusher thanks to the aforementioned initial burst I talked about and ability to chew up a lot of ground in a hurry.
"The Hilton Head star shows a good feel for the game, possessing quick reaction skills and the ability to diagnose between run and pass relatively quickly. At times he doesn’t take the best angles, but that can certainly be improved. He’s a bit of a free-lancer, which needs to be harnessed a bit, and he played defensive end as a junior, so there’s plenty of technique work needed with Sneed, but the tools are truly outstanding.
"What I don’t know right now is if Sneed has the coverage instincts to play as a true rover. It’s not that I doubt that he has them, but I just haven’t seen enough of him in coverage on film to really get a feel for how well he’ll perform with that part of the game. Rover is not, however, the ideal position for him, so this doesn’t really impact his grade much. At the very least Sneed projects to be a quality zone defender as an inside linebacker, but the athleticism and length gives him the potential to eventually develop into an impact cover player at inside linebacker."
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