Ever since committing to Notre Dame on March 4, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic quarterback Steve Angeli has taken a leadership role before ever stepping foot on campus as a student athlete. We are still months away from Angeli playing his senior season, much less him enrolling at Notre Dame, but he's already had an impact. Angeli has put in major work as a recruiter for Notre Dame.
Right now, the Fighting Irish have 13 pledges in the 2022 cycle, a group that is good enough for the No. 4 class in the country according to 247Sports.com. Most recently, Notre Dame added tight ends Eli Raridon and Holden Staes, which means two more weapons for the future Irish signal caller, and just two players that Angeli has been working on.
Notre Dame has already identified a host of players that could be impact players on the Irish offense, and Angeli has been hard at work to help bring those players into the fold as well. Landing Staes was a big one for Notre Dame and Angeli, but with him in the fold it's time to focus on the other impact players on the board.
"Receiver-wise, C.J. Williams and Tobias Merriweather. A couple other guys like [Xayvion] Bradshaw and a few others," Angeli noted. "Offensive line-wise, we are really, really on [Billy] Schrauth, Carson Hinzman, [Jake] Taylor, Joe Brunner, [George] Fitzpatrick, [Aamil] Wagner, Zach Rice. Those are a couple guys we are really recruiting.”
Williams, Merriweather and Bradshaw are all receivers that the Fighting Irish have been pursuing for quite sometime now. Bradshaw is the most recent of the three to receiver an offer from Notre Dame, but he is expected to hit South Bend for an official visit at some point this summer. Merriweather and Williams have already announced their intentions to officially visit Notre Dame in June as well.
“Running back-wise, Nick Singleton, Dallan Hayden, Gavin Sawchuk and there's a couple other wide receiver and O-Line guys [are targets],” Angeli continued. “That's pretty much where we're at right now. I think this summer and when official visits start coming up, we'll really start to get more of a sense of who's going to be added and how the class will kind of fill out.”
For the duration of this recruiting period, Irish Breakdown has reported that the Fighting Irish would like to take two running backs in this cycle if possible, and that much remains true today. Notre Dame is looking to add the “two” of a one-two punch with commit Jadarian Price, and the trio of Sawchuk, Singleton and Hayden are all strong possibilities for the last running back position in the class.
While those prospects are spread out all across the country, Angeli has had the added benefit in working on two recruits that he goes to high school with in defensive backs Jayden Bellamy and Jaeden Gould. The former is a more recent addition to the national recruiting scene and the latter is a longstanding target of the Fighting Irish, but Angeli has spoke with the both at length about potentially continuing their college careers together at Notre Dame.
“Talking to Jayden Bellamy a lot, he really has a good feel for us,”Angeli added. “Obviously he's starting to get the recognition he deserves nationally. He's been slept on for a while, and only the people closest to him that play with him know he works hard and deserves everything that comes his way. Notre Dame got on him early and saw him early, so that put us in a good position. Jaeden Gould was the first offer that Notre Dame gave out in my class, so he's always had a good feeling with them from talking to them. Having the opportunity to play with those guys in high school and maybe in college is really awesome.”
Over the Summer, many of these targets will finally have the chance to experience a traditional recruiting visit at Notre Dame once the dead period ends on June 1, Angeli included. June will be a huge month for official visits, and the ND quarterback commit is slated to be on campus from June 18-20, a timeframe that he says is “loaded” with a ton of top prospects also joining him on campus from both the '22 and '23 classes.
But how will the future Fighting Irish passer use his knowledge of the school and the football program to help convince some of the other recruits in attendance to make the same decision he did and choose Notre Dame? Well, Angeli says that the South Bend campus is truly unique, and that part of the recruiting process may very well take care of itself.
“I feel like when you are driving up the road and you see the Golden Dome, that first kind of shock hits you automatically,”Angeli explained. “I feel like when you see it in person, it doesn't really need much of an explanation. There are some really historical places on campus like the Grotto and Touchdown Jesus. You see everything on television, but when you step foot on campus it's just a different vibe. You feel it, and it's hard to explain. You feel the vibe of everything.
"Like I said, the campus speaks for itself," continued Angeli. "Talking to the coaches, I can't wait to meet everyone on the staff. Having the opportunity to finally get inside the facilities and see everything. From the outside, the history and the rich tradition and the future that we're going to build in the program, I can only tell people what it is, but when you get there and see it, it doesn't need much of an explanation in a sense. What I tell guys already is come to Notre Dame. We're recruiting great players and great athletes, but we're building a class of great people and great men where you want to call them your teammates and go to battle and go to work with every day.”
Based on that description alone, it is clear that Angeli is all in when it comes to his future as the quarterback for Notre Dame. Angeli is well versed in what that role requires, he's familiar with the system Coach Rees wants to run going forward, and he's filled with anticipation to attend class on such a historic campus.
“I'm obviously biased, but I don't feel like there's any other place in the country like it,” Angeli said.
Time will tell if that enthusiasm rubs off on other Notre Dame targets over the Summer.
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