Notre Dame needs another strong class in 2022, and the Irish are already off to a strong start. Below is the Irish Breakdown analysis and grades for each Notre Dame commit in the class.
Over the next year the Irish will be adding to the class, and as they do I will add analysis of each player to this breakdown.
2022 COMMITS (11)
QB Steve Angeli - 6-3, 215, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
RB Jadarian Price - 5-11, 180, Denison (Texas) High School
WR Amorion Walker - 6-3, 170, Ponchatoula (La.) High School
OL Joey Tanona - 6-5, 290, Zionsville (Ind.) High School
OL Ty Chan - 6-6, 260, Lawrence (Mass.) Academy
DE Tyson Ford - 6-5, 250, St. Louis (Mo.) Burroughs
DE Aiden Gobaira - 6-6, 230, Chantilly (Va.) High School
DE Darren Agu - 6-6, 230, Rabun Gap (Ga.) Nacoochee
LB Nolan Ziegler - 6-4, 205, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central
LB Josh Burnham - 6-4, 215, Traverse City (Mich.) Central
CB Jaden Mickey - 5-11, 175, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Analysis of each 2022 commit:
Steven Angeli, QB, 6-3, 215, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 400 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.0
ESPN: 4-star - No. 129 overall - No. 6 QB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 13 pro-style QB
247Sports: 3-star - No. 19 pro-style QB
Composite: 4-star - No. 226 overall - No. 11 pro-style QB
Film Analysis: Angeli has a nice frame and body, checking in at 6-3 and 215 pounds. He certainly has the look of a pro-style, next-level quarterback, and he's a tough quarterback that is willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit if it means getting off a throw.
Athletically, Angeli rushed for -1 yards as a junior (according to MaxPreps), so he's not a runner. That doesn't mean he's not a quality. I like Angeli's footwork in the pocket, and he shows a good feel for his surroundings, and he shows the ability to avoid the rush, maneuver in the pocket and then get a throw off.
Angeli has a nice, clean throwing motion. He carries the ball well, can quickly get into his throwing motion and he has a relatively compact motion. He's a true pocket passer in that he's not really a guy who will throw off platform, but if you can keep him in the pocket he'll be able to do damage.
The Bergen Catholic signal caller throws the ball well on the run, and I'm impressed with how well he keeps his eyes downfield when moving around in the pocket or outside of it. While not a threat to run, these traits to allow him to be effective when on the move.
Angeli has above-average arm strength. The ball doesn't really explode out of his hand and he doesn't get great velocity on throws beyond 10 yards. His downfield throws spend a bit more time in the air than you'd like, but he does show good timing as a passer, beyond what you'd expect from someone with his lack of experience.
Jadarian Price, RB, 5-11, 180, Denison (Texas) High School
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 200 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.5
ESPN: 4-star - No. 213 overall - No. 21 RB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 230 overall - No. 5 APB
247Sports: 4-star - No. 233 overall - No. 22 RB
Composite: 4-star - No. 220 overall - No. 22 RB
Film Analysis: Although listed as an all-purpose back by Rivals, Price plays like a pure runner, one capable of making plays between the tackles, on the perimeter and in the pass game out of the backfield. Price is a highly productive back that has already rushed for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Price is a natural running back that shows good patience, vision and decision making. His patience is one of my favorite parts of his game. Price can get downhill in a hurry when he wants to, but he will get on his run track, let the blocks set up and wait until he's made his read before planting and exploding vertically. Yes, Price can plant and go immediately when he needs to, but his patience allows him to find and hit cutback lines effectively.
Despite his foot quickness and impressive agility, the Denison star tries to be a north-south runner as much as possible. Price shows a good burst when he plants and gets vertical, and when he gets a step he displays impressive acceleration that allows him to be a home run hitter.
He's not a back that likes to juke all the time, which I like, and he's a relatively efficient runner, which allows him to maximize available yards. Price can, however, make defenders miss in space when he wants to, or needs to, and he shows impressive balance, which combines with his relatively strong lower body to help him run through arm tackles on the second and third levels.
Amorion Walker, WR, 6-3, 170, Ponchatoula (La.) High School
IB Grade: 3.0 (Top 500 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.0
ESPN: 3-star - No. 77 wide reciever
247Sports: 3-star - No. 92 wide receiver
Rivals: 3-star - No position ranking
Composite: 3-star - No. 862 overall - No. 115 wide receiver
Film Analysis: The first thing that stands out about Walker on film is his exceptional length. He's all arm and legs at this point. Walker is still quite thin at this point, and he has relatively narrow shoulders, so there are questions about how much weight he'll actually put on. Despite his lack of girth and current lack of strength, Walker is willing to mix it up on both sides of the ball, and you have to appreciate that desire to battle.
Walker has outstanding ball skills. To begin, his long arms and overall length gives him an extremely wide catch radius. That is combined with relatively loose hips and good body control, which only adds to his ability to expand the zone for quarterbacks to get him the ball. Walker snatches the ball out of the air with ease, and he tracks the deep ball a well as any wideout I've evaluated in this class.
His length, ball skills and hands are extremely important because they allow him to be open and a legitimate target even when he doesn't get any separation. We saw this with Miles Boykin at times during his Notre Dame career, and while Walker doesn't have Boykin's size and frame, or long speed at this point, the length and ball skills are similar. I would contend that Walker's hands are faster and even stronger than Boykin's were at the same age.
Where Walker's overall grade gets dragged down right now is from an athleticism standpoint. Right now he doesn't show ideal speed or foot quickness, on either side of the ball. Walker is a bit heavy footed and he doesn't show a great burst at this point. It was better as a sophomore before his injuries, but even then it wasn't the kind of burst or second gear you see from top wideouts. He is a long strider, which helps him cover a lot of ground early, but it keeps him from pulling away from faster athletes.
Joey Tanona, OL, 6-5, 290, Zionsville (Ind.) High School
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 150 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
ESPN: 4-star - No. 141 overall - No. 1 C
247Sports: 4-star - No. 188 overall - No. 18 OT
Rivals: 4-star - No. 201 overall - No. 6 G
Composite: 4-star - No. 166 overall - No. 19 OT
Film Analysis: Tanona played left tackle for Zionsville as a sophomore and then moved to center as a junior. He looked comfortable as a young tackle and his transition to center was seamless. That versatility is exactly what you want and need in a top young lineman.
He’s now listed at 290-295 pounds, but he still shows room to keep adding good weight. I believe Tanona will be an easy 300+ pounds in college. The Zionsville star is athletic for his age. He shows an impressive burst off the line, he quickly got to the edge as a sophomore tackle, and he works well to the second level inside and outside.
Athletically he has all the traits needed to thrive in pass pro on the edge, possessing quick feet out of his stance and easy change of direction skills. As a center his athleticism really took off, and his ability to win with quickness and leverage was impressive. He has the athletic traits to be a really good tackle, but those same traits translate into him potentially being one of the best interior blockers in the nation.
Tanona is strong for his age, which combines well with his quickness to make him highly effective in the run game. As he gets stronger and fills out his frame he should become a dominant force in the run game at the next level. Tanona must continue to work on pad level, footwork, using his hands more forcefully and playing with better angles as a tackle, but those are all traits that are coachable, and he’s at a good place for his age. Those aspects of his game were much cleaner and more effective as a center.
Ty Chan, OL, 6-6, 260, Lawrence (Mass.) Groton
IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 300 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
Rivals: 4-star - No. 209 overall - No. 30 offensive tackle
ESPN: 4-star - No. 212 overall - No. 24 offensive tackle
247Sports: 4-star - No. 237 overall - No. 24 offensive tackle
Composite: 4-star - No. 212 overall - No. 24 offensive tackle
At 6-6 and 265 pounds, Chan is still on the thin side, but he has the kind of frame that should allow him to easily get to 300 pounds. His length is above-average for a 6-6 player, and although he lacks elite length, he has the necessary length for tackle. Chan is an incredibly raw blocker at this point, and that's partly due to him playing on both sides of the ball in high school, which has prevented him from focusing just on the technique needed to thrive at offensive tackle.
He shows good quickness off the ball and good flexibility for someone his size. Chan shows off fast hands and he has some punch, although right now you see that more of him on defense than you will on offense. The tools for Chan to develop into a top tackle are there, but he'll certainly need a lot of work.
Chan will need to learn to bend with his knees and not lunge as much as he does now. He has the flexibility and athleticism to do it, but the technique isn't there yet. He shows strong hands and a strong base for his size, and that will become a top strength once he gets into a college weight room.
I'm interested to see how he develops over the next year. He might need some time, but there's a lot to like about his upside. Right now he plays right tackle, but with work he could potentially be a left tackle target for the Irish.
Tyson Ford, DE, 6-5, 250, St. Louis (Mo.) Burroughs
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
Rivals: 4-star - No. 70 overall - No. 6 strongside end
ESPN: 4-star - No. 153 overall - No. 16 defensive end
247Sports: 4-star - No. 187 overall - No. 9 weakside end
Composite: 4-star - No. 123 overall - No. 3 weakside end
Ford has all the tools you want in a strongside end, and I believe he is a pure power end. He has tremendous size, impressive natural power and he has the combination of tools to eventually be a dominant run defender and pass rusher. Getting a player with the tools to do both is rare, and an absolute must for an elite defensive lineman.
Ford already has good size at 6-5 and 250 pounds, and his length is impressive. He has plenty of room to reshape his body, and he should take off in the Matt Balis strength program. His frame is such that he could easily get to 265-270 pounds and get even more explosive. He is an aggressive player that shows an edge at times that I like, and that you need to be a dominant run defender.
The Burroughs standout shows an impressive burst off the line, especially for a player that weighs 250 pounds. At times he comes off the line too high, but it is correctable and he does show the ability to bend when he keeps his pads low. His block destruction technique needs work, which isn't a surprise for such a young player, but he has fast and powerful hands, and he's hard to block at the prep level. When he does use his hands correctly he destroys high school linemen.
He's an agile athlete that displays the occasional impressive spin move to get off blocks. As his technique improves you'll see his ability to get after the quarterback take off. He is able to disrupt the passer now based mostly on raw talent, but as a junior his repertoire started to enhanced, and his game improved tremendously. With even more work he projects to be an impact power rusher.
Aiden Gobaira, DE, 6-6, 230, Chantilly (Va.) High School
247Sports: 3-star - No. 15 weakside end
Rivals: 3-star - No. 28 weakside end
ESPN: 3-star - No. 35 defensive end
Composite: 3-star - No. 434 overall - No. 24 weakside end
IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 300 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
Gobaira has a tremendous frame, checking in at 6-6 and 230 pounds. On film as a sophomore he still looked quite thin, so a big question about him right now is how will he fill into that frame. He wasn't 230 pounds as a sophomore, and not seeing the progress he's made since then filling out his frame is something that is holding back his current ranking.
The good aspect of his frame is that he looks to have the kind of body that will allow him to add a lot of good weight and strength. If he's a legit 225-230 right now with the frame he has I anticipate Gobaira being able to carry at least 250-260 pounds.
What's not a question is the athletic skills that Gobaira brings to the game. The Chantilly end shows an outstanding burst off the edge and he plays with a great motor. His edge speed is quite good and he closes on the football extremely well. Gobaira shows top-notch balance and agility, traits that should allow him to develop a strong array of pass rushing moves.
Despite being on the thin side, Gobaira shows impressive power. Gobaira shows an advanced feel for using his top-notch length to keep blockers off his body. His ability to lock defenders out is already excellent, and as he adds more weight room strength and size to his frame those tools should allow him to develop into an elite run defender.
Darren Agu, DE, 6-6, 230, Rabun Gap (Ga.) Nacoochee
247Sports: 3-star - No. 22 weakside end
Rivals: 3-star - No. 27 athlete
ESPN: 3-star - No. 14 tight end
Composite: 3-star - No. 456 overall - No. 28 weakside end
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 250 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0
Agu is exactly the kind of defensive end that line coach Mike Elston covets. He's listed at 6-6, but beyond that he has incredibly long arms. Agu is listed between 225 and 235 pounds, but he has a long, lean, muscular body that will hold plenty of weight.
On film you see Agu play all over the defense, something you don't often see from a 6-6, 230-pound athlete. He'll line up as a standup edge and rush the passer, he'll put his hand in the ground and be physical in the run game, he plays off-ball linebacker and he'll line up in space and cover. What's even more impressive is that Agu looks just as comfortable in space as he does playing with his hand in the ground.
Agu must clean up his technique and become more consistent, but there are a lot of snaps where he shows a great burst off the edge, the kind that could lead to him being a top-notch edge rusher. The England native also shows quick feet and easy change of direction traits, which allows him to be as versatile as he shows.
You also see Agu showing extremely fast and strong hands, which combines well with his elite length to give him the potential to be a great block destructor. He shows a natural feel for it already, and with even more technique work Agu will be incredibly difficult to handle as both a pass rusher and run defender. He shows a good motor on game film and his closing speed is outstanding.
His combination of length, athleticism and experience on offense makes it very hard to ignore the comparisons of Agu to current Notre Dame junior Isaiah Foskey, who was also a standout high school tight end. Like Foskey, Agu is woefully underrated right now, and once he gets into college his rare traits give him a chance to one day develop into a special player on the edge at the Vyper position.
Nolan Ziegler, LB, 6-4, 205, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central
247Sports: 4-star - No. 17 safety
Rivals: 4-star - No. 20 athlete
ESPN: 4-star - No. 36 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 314 overall - No. 19 safety
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 200 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5
Film Analysis: When Ziegler first committed to Notre Dame I saw a player on film that was raw, but also one that was athletic, had a great frame and one that had a lot of upside. As a junior, Ziegler started to turn that upside and potential into even greater production and impressive play.
The first thing that stands out about Ziegler is his combination of length and athleticism. He's listed between 6-3 to 6-4, and he has very long arms, plus the kind of frame that should allow him to add plenty of weight. He's a tough young defender that shows impressive natural pop, but as one would expect of a junior that weighs 205 pounds, there is still plenty of work needed from a strength and size standpoint.
Ziegler is an impressive athlete. He's fluid and shows easy change of direction skills, but he can also explode downhill when he needs to do so. His balance is impressive, and his short-area quickness combines well with his long speed to make him an incredibly rangy defender on the second level.
Ziegler is physical and more than willing to mix it up as a defender and a blocker on offense. His length and strong hands allow him to keep blockers off his body, and he showed off impressive run game instincts as a junior. He needs technique work in coverage and he must show better route recognition, but he has the length and athleticism to become a dominant pass defender as a linebacker.
There is versatility to his game as well, as Ziegler shows traits that fit perfectly at rover, but he also has the frame, pop and instincts that would allow him to thrive as an inside linebacker as well.
Josh Burnham, LB, 6-4, 215, Traverse City (Mich.) Central
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0
247Sports: 4-star - No. 85 overall - No. 6 outside linebacker
Rivals: 4-star - No. 141 overall - No. 5 inside linebacker
ESPN: 4-star - No. 167 overall - No. 20 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 114 overall - No. 9 outside linebacker
Film Analysis: The first thing that jumps out about Burnham is his frame and length. Listed between 6-3 and 6-4, and 215 pounds, Burnham possesses an excellent frame that will allow him to fill out quite a bit. Right now I project Burnham as an inside linebacker, and while I don't see it happening, it wouldn't shock me if he outgrew linebacker and ended up coming off the edge.
Beyond a great frame, Burnham possesses elite length, which is evident on the football field and the basketball court. Burnham is an impressive athlete, showing off impressive foot quickness, easy change of direction skills and top-notch burst. Not only does Burnham have very good long speed, his short-area burst and closing speed is outstanding.
Right now he doesn't know how to use that length as a weapon, and that is the one thing that drags down his grade a bit, at least his current grade. Burnham is still a bit of a raw prospect from a technical standpoint. He must improve his footwork at linebacker and also enhance his block destruction inside. At this point he's just getting by on tools and God-given ability, and his technical game is hindered by the fact he plays so many different positions (he plays quarterback, running back and even some wide receiver).
While that might seem like a criticism, a talent evaluation has to love what he sees on film from Burnham. His evaluation is all about the ceiling, and his ceiling is truly elite. Burnham is already a highly productive two-way player in high school, but he's far from being a technician as a player. Once his technical game catches up to his physical tools the Traverse City Central athlete will become a truly dominant defensive player. He's just scratching the surface of what he can become, and if your focus is on his upside (and it should be) there aren't many better linebackers in the country.
Jaden Mickey, CB, 5-11, 175, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 250 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.5
247Sports: 4-star - No. 220 overall - No. 27 cornerback
ESPN: 4-star - No. 264 overall - No. 26 cornerback
Rivals: 4-star - No. 35 cornerback
Composite: 4-star - No. 239 overall - No. 28 cornerback
Film Analysis: To begin, Mickey is a quick footed and fluid athlete, two of the most important traits I look for in a cornerback, especially one that will be tasked with playing man coverage. Mickey also shows impressive coverage instincts, showing the ability to read routes effectively and to mirror what wideouts are doing. Mickey gets his hands on a lot of throws, both on the man he is defending, but also when he is able to come out of his zone and drive on the ball.
That combination of smooth athletic skills and a high football IQ is impressive, but when you consider its based on sophomore film it makes it even more impressive.
Mickey is still quite skinny as a sophomore, and he didn't look to be the 5-11 to 6-0 he's listed at now. Recent photos show a player that has filled out and grown a bit, but we have yet to see that on the football field. It's one of the top things I'm looking to see once he finally gets back on the field. As an undersized sophomore Mickey showed a lot of fight, both as a tackler and playing the football. His ability to shut down 6-5, 215-pound USC commit Keyan Burnett in a 2019 matchup was incredibly impressive.
While Mickey is a smooth and fluid athlete, his speed at this point isn't elite. That's another area where I am looking forward to seeing his progress when he gets back on the field. Some athletes make big jumps from their sophomore to senior seasons, and if Mickey makes a normal sophomore to senior speed progression his grade and ranking will increase. If he shows a better than normal jump he has the overall skills to push his way into the Top 100 caliber ranking.
5.0 - Elite player
4.5 - All-American caliber player
4.0 - Multi-year starter
3.5 - Key role player / Late career-starter
3.0 - Backup
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