Notre Dame is making a hard push for a deep and talented group of linebackers in the 2022 class, and there is one prospect from Nevada that could help the Irish football team, and the Irish baseball team.
That would be Reno (Nev.) McQueen standout Robby Snelling, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker that doubles as a standout on the diamond. McQueen originally committed to play baseball at Stanford, but things have changed quite a bit since his initial, rushed commitment.
“I verbally committed between my freshman and sophomore years,” Snelling explained. “The baseball facilities are beautiful, and there's great weather in Palo Alto. It was stressful having to make phone calls to all the coaches during baseball recruitment. My dad had a former player [wide receiver Rollins Stallworth] at McQueen that went to Stanford on a track scholarship and decided to walk on to the football team.
“He still lives in the area, so when we took a trip, my dad reached out, and he came down to meet us,” continued the four-star linebacker. “He took us on a tour of all the football facilities and football offices. The vibe between him and the coaches was great despite him not playing there for a few years. There was a family atmosphere that rubbed off on my parents and me.”
The baseball recruiting process was stressful for Snelling, which is why he made such a quick decision. His recruitment for football has been far more enjoyable.
“The recruiting started after my sophomore year,” Snelling said. “I knew I had a good year and a good highlight tape, but I had no clue it would turn into what it has. Unlike baseball, I decided not to let it stress me into making a quick decision. I've been more laid back. I let coaches give me a call when they want to give me a call. I've also gotten much better at scheduling; when I need to start calling coaches, I've got it laid out.
“It's cool to be wanted by schools, and it's always a great feeling when a new school pops up and wants to talk to you.”
Notre Dame is all over Snelling, who is building a connection with multiple Irish coaches.
“At first, it was Coach [Brian] Polian that talked to me,” Snelling stated. “Later I started hearing more from Coach [Nick] Lezynski. After Notre Dame extended the offer, we got on a Zoom call with Polian, Lezynski, and Link Jarrett [ND baseball coach]. What they told me sounded good, and they have a good plan for me.
“So the first year, they want to see how I handle both baseball and football,” continued Snelling. “If there are two practices on the same day, the priority will be football since that's who offered me the scholarship. If things are going well, I can split the time between the two sports.”
Notre Dame obviously has experience with two-sport players. Former Irish football standouts Jeff Samardzija, Golden Tate and Cole Kmet are just some of the players to thrive in two sports in South Bend.
“They told me I wouldn't miss any baseball games, but I would have to work on baseball on my own after football practice,” Snelling explained. “As a pitcher, that shouldn't be too hard since its mostly just bullpen work and running. I've accepted that I'll have to give up hitting. I won't have the time to do any of the batting practice the other players do, but some baseball coaches have told me they want me to keep my options open.
“They also are focused on making sure I'll have time for a break,” continued Snelling. “Doing both sports, I won't get as much rest as either athlete gets playing just one sport. I might be able to miss a practice of either baseball or football so that I can rest.”
Snelling has a frame that could allow him to play inside or outside for the Irish, but the staff is targeting him as an outside player.
“The Rover,” Snelling said of the position Notre Dame is recruiting him to play. “I play that in high school as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker. I've been putting on decent weight, and they've even mentioned putting me at outside linebacker. I love playing defense, and I love to hit.”
Snelling is ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports. He has football offers from Notre Dame, Oregon, Nebraska, Stanford, Utah, UCLA, Ole Miss, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State.
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