What's Next: Notre Dame Needs A Strong Offensive Line Finish In 2022

Notre Dame is off to a quality start but the Irish staff must finish strong in the 2022 class
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Notre Dame landed its third offensive line commitment in the 2022 class when Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School lineman Ashton Craig pledged to the Irish. 

Transfers and injuries from the 2018 and 2019 classes, plus Notre Dame coming up short on numbers in the 2020 class means the Irish need at least four offensive linemen in the 2022 class. The lack of high-end talent in the 2021 group behind Blake Fisher and Rocco Spindler combined with the lack of depth in 2020 to put the Irish staff in position where it needed to also land impact talent throughout the 2022 line class.

With Craig joining Joey Tanona and Ty Chan the Irish certainly have a quality three-man unit. Tanona ranks as the nation's No. 166 overall prospect in the 2022 class according to the 247Sports composite ranking while Chan ranks as the No. 204 overall prospect. Craig is a consensus three-star recruit, but I like his ceiling and upside.

Tanona and Craig were both recruited as interior players while Chan is a tackle prospect. All three are quality prospects and have impressive ceilings, but the class right now does lack some of the top-end talent that Notre Dame needs along the offensive line.

To finish off the class Notre Dame needs at least one more high-level prospect up front.

WISCONSIN BOUNCE BACK

Notre Dame is recruiting three very talented offensive linemen from the state of Wisconsin: Billy Schrauth, Carson Hinzman and Joe Brunner. I will repeat now what I've been saying for months, line coach Jeff Quinn absolutely must land one of these prospects, and the order of importance for me is the order in which I listed those prospects. 

The reason for this is Schrauth and Hinzman especially have the high-level talent Notre Dame needs in this class, and Quinn invested far too much time and effort into each's recruitment to come up empty.

For the last couple of months it appeared Notre Dame had a shot at landing two of those prospects. Notre Dame was the very, very clear leader for Schrauth for months and it was at least the co-leader for Hinzman for much of the spring. 

Schrauth visited Notre Dame the weekend of June 11 and Hinzman visited South Bend the weekend of June 18, and since both visited campus the Irish have faded hard with both. Notre Dame was always going to have a tough time landing Brunner, who has always favored the in-state Badgers and Ohio State.

According to sources head coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees are pushing HARD to get Schrauth back in the mix, and Hinzman still likes Notre Dame. It's not looking good right now, but the staff absolutely must make a comeback with one of those two prospects. 

Striking out on all three prospects in the state of Wisconsin would be a significant gut punch for a program that has earned the moniker of "Offensive Line U" in recent seasons.

NEED ANOTHER TACKLE

Even if Notre Dame lands Schrauth or Hinzman it would still be short a tackle. 2021 signees Rocco Spindler and Patrick Coogan are pure interior players and Caleb Johnson might also be better suited inside. The same is true of 2020 signee Michael Carmody, who is playing tackle right now.

Schrauth is a prospect I would actually give a shot to play tackle, even though he plays guard in high school.

The only other tackle prospect currently on the board that Notre Dame seems to have much of a chance at is Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne standout Aamil Wagner.

Wagner - like Craig - is a bit undersized at this point, and his frame is one of the reasons sources have told Irish Breakdown that Ohio State is not yet making a hard push for him. Should the Buckeyes reverse course and make a push they could be hard to beat.

Notre Dame is higher on Wagner than the Buckeyes, and that's something the staff should sell. I have my own concerns about Wagner's frame in regards to holding good weight, but the's long, athletic and has a high ceiling.

CAN NOTRE DAME PULL OFF A MAJOR UPSET?

Two tackles I've yet to mention are Las Vegas star tackle Jake Taylor and Virginia standout Zach Rice.

Rice is the highest ranked prospect on the board according to the recruiting services, and he's quite good. Taylor, however, is the top prospect on my board. Either tackle would be a huge pickup for Notre Dame, but right now both are long shots.

Notre Dame failed to make a move on Oklahoma when Taylor visited campus the weekend of June 11. Rice's official visit ends today, and unless the staff just crushes his visit the Irish are on the outside looking in for Rice when matched up against North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio State and Virginia.

Neither have committed anywhere else so Notre Dame is still in the mix, but it would require a huge, huge upset for either to end up in the Irish class.

Irish Breakdown Content

Notre Dame Summer Roster
Notre Dame Football: 2021 Overview

Notre Dame 2022 Commits Big Board: Offense
Notre Dame 2022 Commits Big Board: Defense

2022 Big Board: Running Back
2022 Big Board: Slot Receivers

Notre Dame 2022 Scholarship Offers

Notre Dame 2022 Class Big Board

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