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Notre Dame Focused On Charles Jagusah As An Offensive Tackle

Notre Dame views Charles Jagusah as an offensive tackle, and the approach helped land the talented blocker
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Notre Dame added the nation's No. 1 ranked offensive tackle to the No. 1 ranked recruiting class this week when it landed Rock Island (Ill.) Alleman Catholic standout Charles Jagusah. The 6-6, 295-pound tackle simply tweeted out his commitment with no drama. The simplicity of his announcement was the perfect culmination of his recruitment and his character.

“I’m just going to announce on twitter,” Jagusah told Irish Breakdown. “Then, I have workouts and practice from 8-6.”

The Fighting Irish not only got a player with elite physical tools, but a work ethic that matches his God-given abilities. Alleman head coach Fritz Dieudonne believes he is the best player in the state of Illinois and definitely one the best players in the nation. Jagusah’s on field performance isn’t simply about him being the biggest and the best, but his willingness to compete sets the tone for a program that’s starting from square one.

“Charles is a great two-way player,” Dieudonne told Irish Breakdown. “He never wants to come off the field. The physical attributes speak for themselves and he’s a highly intelligent, competitive and driven young man.”

Jagusah’s drive is evident from the way he reacted to the two-and-a-half-hour film session with Harry Hiestand during his last visit. The young lineman walked in expecting to one thing and Hiestand pushed his competitive button as he pointed out needed improvements in his technique and footwork. Jagusah immediately began asking questions and taking notes.

“He loves the game,” Dieudonne explained. “I’m not shocked that the film session went that long. That’s where his intelligence comes in. He’s working on everything Coach Hiestand said right now.

Dieudonne has heard the noise about Charles being a raw athlete and possibly needing to move inside during his college career. He says multiple coaches tried to ease the possibility into conversations during the recruitment process, but they don’t realize that almost a full year of coaching and development was impacted by the coaching change, the pandemic, and IHSA regulations that cancelled a full season and minimized preparation for a truncated spring schedule. 

That wasn’t the case with Notre Dame and Hiestand, who made it clear that they want and expect Jagusah to play tackle when he arrives in South Bend.

“Charles is going to play tackle in college,” Dieudonne stated. “He’s strong, athletic and very patient with his hands. The film session was about becoming a better tackle and Charles has already taken to the challenge.”

Hiestand has been known to ruffle some feathers with the way he communicates with his offensive linemen. Dieudonne was aware of this and arrived for the April 9 visit focused on experiencing things firsthand. What he saw from head coach Marcus Freeman and all the coaches was a culture of teaching with a foundation in respect and love.

“Coach Hiestand is honest and direct,” Dieudonne said. “It’s not always pretty, but you can tell the players feel the love. The fact that Coach Hiestand took the time and interest to engage Charles as a man first, allowed him to gain his trust, and that’s what coaching is at any level.”

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That approach has allowed Hiestand to put together the nation's best line class, and Jagusah was the final crucial piece.

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