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Notre Dame 2022 Commits Big Board

Breaking down the players committed to Notre Dame in the 2022 class
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Notre Dame's 2022 recruiting class


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.) HS
WR CJ Williams - 6-2, 195, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
TE Eli Raridon - 6-6, 225, West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley
TE Holden Staes - 6-4, 230, Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster
OL Joey Tanona - 6-5, 290, Zionsville (Ind.) High School
OL Ty Chan - 6-6, 300, Lawrence (Mass.) Academy
OL Ashton Craig - 6-5, 280, Lawrenceburg (Ind.) HS
OL Aamil Wagner - 6-6, 265, Dayton (Ohio) Wayne
OL Billy Schrauth - 6-5, 280, Fond Du Lac (Wis.) St. Marys Springs
DE Tyson Ford - 6-6, 260, St. Louis (Mo.) Burroughs
DE Aiden Gobaira - 6-6, 230, Chantilly (Va.) High School
DT Donovan Hinish - 6-2, 270, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic
LB Nolan Ziegler - 6-4, 205, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central
LB Josh Burnham - 6-4, 215, Traverse City (Mich.) Central
LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka - 6-2, 230, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany
LB Jaylen Sneed - 6-2, 215, Hilton Head (S.C.) High School
CB Jaden Mickey - 5-11, 175, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
CB Jayden Bellamy - 5-11, 175, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
CB Devin Moore - 6-2, 180, Naples (Fla.) High School
CB Benjamin Morrison - 6-0, 175, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep

Analysis of each 2022 commit:

Steve 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. 143 overall - No. 7 pocket passer
Rivals: 3-star - No. 18 pro-style QB
247Sports: 3-star - No. 26 QB
Composite: 3-star - No. 239 overall - No. 16 QB

Junior Highlights

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 150 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.5

247Sports: 4-star - No. 166 overall - No. 15 RB
ESPN: 4-star - No. 223 overall - No. 20 RB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 239 overall - No. 5 APB
Composite: 4-star - No. 198 overall - No. 18 RB

Junior Highlights

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: 4-star - No. 241 overall - No. 34 wide receiver
247Sports: 3-star - No. 53 athlete
Rivals: 3-star
Composite: 3-star - No. 532 overall - No. 40 athlete


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.

Tobias Merriweather, WR, 6-4, 180, Vancouver (Wash.) Union

IB Grade: 4.5 (Top 50 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 5.0

SI99: No. 46 overall - No. 7 WR
247Sports: 4-star - No. 77 overall - No. 11 WR
On3: 4-star - No. 154 overall - No. 20 WR
Rivals: 4-star - No. 160 overall - No. 19 WR
ESPN: 4-star - No. 184 overall - No. 25 WR
Composite: 4-star - No. 125 overall - No. 18 WR

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Merriweather is a long, smooth, fluid wideout with an advanced feel for the game and really impressive ball skills. Merriweather isn't a burner in the traditional sense, but he's got enough long speed, and there's a lot of untapped speed potential there. He's going to get faster, and we already started to see that during his spring junior season.

Merriweather has freakishly long legs, which tells me he still has some growing to do. His length is incredibly impressive, and he chews up a lot of ground in a hurry due to his long strides. The Union star is a smooth and fluid athlete, more so than you'd expect from a tall, young, lanky athlete. His balance is outstanding, as is his agility for his size. Merriweather has long arms and fast hands, and he's a very good leaper, traits that make him very difficult to defend on the perimeter, in the red zone and on jump balls. He shows the ability to make plays after the catch, and you can see his foot quickness in space and at the top of his routes.

The physical tools are impressive, but Merriweather has a very mature game. He's advanced from a technical standpoint for his age, and his understanding of using leverage and his release to manipulate defenders for separation is impressive, and Merriweather shows a knack for finding soft spots in the zone.

Those traits should make him a strong possession and red zone receiver, but his ball skills and long speed make him a threat down the field. If I'm right and he has another gear in him as he matures his recruiting profile will skyrocket. There's a lot of potential here with Merriweather, and if you're a coach who cares about upside and projection he's got to be at or near the top of your board.

Eli Raridon, TE, 6-6, 225, West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 250 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.5

247Sports: 4-star - No. 64 overall - No. 2 tight end
On3: 4-star - No. 235 overall - No. 11 tight end
ESPN: 3-star - No. 13 tight end
Rivals: 3-star - No. 21 tight end
Composite: 4-star - No. 236 overall - No. 8 tight end

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: The first thing you'll notice when watching Raridon's film is his size. He's every bit of 6-6, possessing above average arm length to go along with that height.

Although he'll need to add a good amount of weight and strength to his frame, Raridon certainly has the body to get there. Raridon has a frame that reminds me a lot of former Notre Dame standout Kyle Rudolph at the same age. Rudolph was also a 6-6, 225-pound two-sport athlete that shined on the basketball court, which helped keep his weight down. Raridon scored over 17 points per game on the hardwood for Valley this past season.

Once Rudolph stopped playing basketball he easily put on good weight and added strength, finishing his Notre Dame career at 265 pounds. Raridon is a willing blocker already, showing a good punch, impressive leg drive and toughness. As he adds more size and strength this will become an even bigger part of his game.

Raridon shows good vertical speed, and as expected impressive footwork, agility and balance for a big player. You can see those traits on the football field and the basketball court. The Valley standout has some bounce, something you see even more on the basketball court. Combine that with his size, length and excellent hands he's a major weapon in the pass game.

The Valley standout still needs a lot of technical work. His get off is a bit inconsistent, and he needs to get more bend as he works vertically, which will help him be more sharp with his routes. As that part of his game improves he'll become extremely difficult to guard.

Holden Staes, TE, 6-4, 230, Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 200 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

On3: 4-star - No. 155 overall - No. 7 tight end
ESPN: 4-star - No. 270 overall - No. 7 tight end
Rivals: 4-star - No. 15 tight end
247Sports: 4-star - No. 16 tight end
Composite: 4-star - No. 270 overall - No. 10 tight end

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Staes is listed at 6-4 and 230 pounds, and he looks to be every bit of that. I'm impressed with his length, which helps him as a pass catcher and blocker. Staes has the length and body control to provide his quarterback with a bigger than normal catching zone (catch radius), and his natural power and length combines to help him be effective in the run game.

Staes is a pretty good high school defensive lineman as well, and I like his willingness to play physical on both sides of the ball, traits that make him a legit weapon as an attached tight end. There's room for him to improve his weight room strength and blocking technique, but Staes has a high ceiling as a run blocker.

Staes is a smooth athlete that shows the kind of second gear you need to be able to stretch the field on seams and vertical routes, and to outrun linebackers horizontally on crossing routes and drags. Although he needs work on the finer points of route running, Staes has impressive agility and balance, traits that should allow him to develop into a top-notch route runner.

Staes shows excellent focus in traffic, and he's more than willing to lock in on the field while the defense collapses around him. He shows good feel for finding open spots against zone defenses, and with his catch radius and strong hands he presents his quarterback with to go high in order to get the ball into tight zones. Staes shows loose hips for such a big athlete, and when you combine that with his length and ability to track the ball he's able to be a highly effective bad-ball and back shoulder pass catcher, traits that should make him dangerous in the red zone. 

Joey Tanona, OL, 6-5, 290, Zionsville (Ind.) High School

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 150 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

On3: 4-star - No. 30 overall - No. 3 OT
ESPN: 4-star - No. 157 overall - No. 1 C
247Sports: 4-star - No. 180 overall - No. 16 OT
Rivals: 4-star - No. 185 overall - No. 8 G
Composite: 4-star - No. 166 overall - No. 16 OT

Junior Highlights

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, 300, Lawrence (Mass.) Groton

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 250 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

Rivals: 4-star - No. 114 overall - No. 11 offensive tackle
247Sports: 4-star - No. 124 overall - No. 13 offensive tackle
ESPN: 4-star - No. 222 overall - No. 23 offensive tackle
Composite: 4-star - No. 139 overall - No. 14 offensive tackle

Sophomore Highlights

Film Analysis: 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.

Ashton Craig, OL, 6-5, 280, Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School

IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 300 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.0

On3: 4-star - No. 187 overall - No. 24 offensive tackle
247Sports: 4-star - No. 26 offensive tackle
ESPN: 3-star - No. 50 offensive tackle
Rivals: 3-star - No. 62 offensive tackle
Composite: 3-star - No. 501 overall - No. 42 offensive tackle

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Craig was listed at 6-5 and 260 pounds as a high school junior but sources tell me he is now over 280 pounds. That's a great sign for Craig, whose frame on film as a junior was really my only big concern about his game.

The Lawrenceburg standout shows impressive quickness off the ball both offensively and on defense. Despite his lack of girth on film he does show long arms and strong hands, and that combination of strength and quickness should allow him to thrive inside. That combination of quickness and hand strength should be especially helpful at center, which is where I believe Notre Dame wants to ultimately play him.

Although center might be his ideal position, one aspect of Craig's projection that I like is his versatility. If he can play center then obviously he can play guard, but I also think he could play on the edge as a tackle. He's a bit raw from a fundamental standpoint but he was coached to play aggressively, which is a plus.

If you're someone who is obsessed with star rankings this is a player that won't move the needle much, but if you are a film watcher, an evaluator and someone who looks more at projection and upside than star rankings this is a pickup that adds value to Notre Dame's 2022 recruiting class.

Aamil Wagner, OL, 6-6, 265, Dayton (Ohio) Wayne

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 250 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0

247Sports: 4-star - No. 116 overall - No. 11 offensive tackle
On3: 4-star - No. 116 overall - No. 12 offensive tackle
ESPN: 4-star - No. 116 overall - No. 18 offensive tackle
Rivals: 4-star - No. 202 overall - No. 23 offensvie tackle
Composite: 4-star - No. 134 overall - No. 12 offensive tackle

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Wagner is a very long and athletic prospect, and in those two regards he projects extremely well to the next level. He is quick out of his stance, he has good agility and change of direction skills and he has the length you want on the edge.

Wagner also has impressive natural strength for a player that weighs just 265 pounds. One of the things that surprised me on his film, even going back to his sophomore season, was how aggressive he was in the run game and his compete level in the run game. The Wayne has a high ceiling in the pass game but he needs a ton of work mechanically. His footwork is a mess and he doesn't always use his athleticism to his advantage. That can be improved upon with good coaching, so that's not really a concern, assuming Notre Dame has an offensive line coach who can teach proper technique.

Wagner is incredibly skinny, and it's not that he is listed at 265 that concerns me. He'll get to 300 pounds, anyone can get to 300 pounds. The question/concern is can he get there with good weight and can he have the mass/strength to play like a 290+ pound player. He has a thin, athletic upper body that looks more like a defensive end or tight end than an offensive lineman, and he has very thin legs for an offensive line prospect. That makes me question just how much he'll be able to fill out and add good weight that doesn't start taking away from his athleticism.

Wagner is the prototypical boom or bust prospect. If he can fill out with good weight and gets good coaching he could be very good. If he can't fill out or he doesn't get good coaching he'll never play a meaningful snap. Notre Dame is clearly betting on the former.

Billy Schrauth, OL, 6-5, 280, Fond Du Lac (Wis.) St. Marys Spring

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0

Rivals: 4-star - No. 125 overall - No. 3 guard
On3: 4-star - No. 137 overall - No. 12 interior lineman
247Sports: 4-star - No. 204 overall - No. 9 interior lineman
ESPN: 4-star - No. 231 overall - No. 5 guard

Senior Highlights

Film Analysis: Schrauth is listed at just 280 pounds but he has an impressive frame and getting up to 300+ pounds shouldn't be a problem at all for him. He has a thick lower half and long arms, traits that should allow him to physically thrive inside. Schrauth has powerful hands and he plays a physical style of football.

While Schrauth has the physical tools to be a mauler, what makes him such a must-get prospect is his combination of power and athleticism as an interior player. Schrauth gets off the line quickly and he plays with very good pad level. He does a great job working his feet through contact and he shows the quickly to be a highly effective zone blocker - both inside and outside - and he can work effectively in space.

The talented blocker is aggressive and tough, but he also plays under control on both sides of the ball. He stays within himself, keeps his pads low, plays with great leverage, understands proper angles and he's an excellent finisher in the run game.

Schrauth is a guard in high school and his high school doesn't throw the ball much, so we don't see much of Schrauth in pass protection. With that being the case it's impossible for me to totally project him as a tackle in college. However, his combination of size and foot quickness that we see at guard makes me think he is a prospect the Irish staff could initially try at tackle and see how he fits.

Tyson Ford, DE, 6-6, 260, St. Louis (Mo.) Burroughs

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0

On3: 4-star - No. 95 overall - No. 10 edge
SI99: No. 98 overall - No. 12 interior defensive lineman
Rivals: 4-star - No. 104 overall - No. 9 strongside end
ESPN: 4-star - No. 151 overall - No. 15 defensive end
247Sports: 4-star - No. 192 overall - No. 24 defensive line
Composite: 4-star - No. 138 overall - No. 23 defensive line

Junior Highlights
Tyson Ford Film Breakdown

Film Analysis: 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

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0

247Sports: 4-star - No. 175 overall - No. 22 defensive lineman
On3: 4-star - No. 185 overall - No. 23 edge
Rivals: 4-star - No. 250 overall - No. 14 weakside defensive end
ESPN: 4-star - No. 288 overall - No. 25 defensive end
Composite: 4-star - No. 233 overall - No. 30 defensive lineman

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Gobaira has a tremendous frame, checking in at 6-6 and 230 pounds. He was thin as a sophomore, but he started growing into his impressive film as a junior. Gobaira filled out his upper body and his lower body was stronger and filled out more.

The best part is that even though Gobaira is now every bit of 230 pounds, he still has plenty of room to keep growing and filling out while also adding explosiveness. Gobaira has the kind of frame to get to at least 250 pounds. As a junior the Chantilly end showed a big jump in power, both with his lower body explosiveness and his punch.

Gobaira shows an advanced feel for using his top-notch length to keep blockers off his body, and that also took a huge jump as a junior. 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.

Gobaira has an excellent burst off the line for such a long athlete. He explodes off the line and eats up offensive tackles, but his ability to quickly change direction gave him an expanded pass rush repertoire this spring, and made Gobaira all but unblockable as a junior, especially in the pass game. According to 247Sports he finished with 63 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 15 sacks as a junior. 

Donovan Hinish, 6-2, 270, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic

IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 400 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.0

ESPN: 3-star - No. 41 defensive tackle
Rivals: 3-star - No. 42 defensive tackle
247Sports: 3-star - No. 79 defensive lineman
Composite: 3-star - No. 492 overall - No. 76 defensive lineman

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Hinish is the younger brother of current Notre Dame veteran nose guard Kurt Hinish, and it is spooky how similar their games are. Kurt was a bit bigger and stronger while Donovan is the better athlete on film.

The younger Hinish has an impressive first step and he gets off the line quickly. He is a penetrator that consistently plays with good pad level. Combine those traits with his naturally low build and it allows Hinish to consistently win the leverage battle. His motor and ability to find the ball are the final traits that allow him to make a lot of plays up the middle.

Hinish is on the shorter side from a length standpoint, and that hinders his block destruction at times. It doesn't hurt him much at the high school level, but it could become problematic at the next level. His brother had a similar problem early in his career but eventually was able to use his leverage, motor, quickness and strength to make plays. Donovan will need to learn to do the same thing.

Marcus Freeman's defensive philosophy is more aggressive up front than was the previous scheme, which should fit the younger Hinish's game even better.

Nolan Ziegler, LB, 6-4, 205, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 200 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

On3: 4-star - No. 209 overall - No. 16 safety
247Sports: 4-star - No. 212 overall - No. 20 linebacker
Rivals: 4-star - No. 33 outside linebacker
ESPN: 4-star - No. 36 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 288 overall - No. 20 linebacker

Junior Highlights

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. 76 overall - No. 6 outside linebacker
SI99: No. 84 overall - No. 6 linebacker
On3: 4-star - No. 120 overall - No. 11 linebacker
Rivals: 4-star - No. 155 overall - No. 5 inside linebacker
ESPN: 4-star - No. 169 overall - No. 18 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 117 overall - No. 10 outside linebacker

Junior Highlights

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.

Niuafe Tuihalamaka, LB, 6-2, 230, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 150 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

ESPN: 4-star - No. 98 overall - No. 4 ILB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 158 overall - No. 6 ILB
247Sports: 4-star - No. 160 overall - No. 14 linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 128 overall - No. 14 linebacker

Sophomore Highlights

Film Analysis: Tuihalamaka is a physically advanced player that checked in at 6-2 and over 230 pounds as a sophomore. He has no need to add weight, and moving forward it will just be about reshaping his body, adding more weight room strength and adding explosiveness.

As expected, Tuihalamaka is a powerful young defender with a thick, strong lower half, which allows him to arrive at the football with force. His length and natural punch allows him to dismiss blockers with ease and makes him a strong tackler. As his block destruction technique continues to improve his ability to dominate the run game should become elite.

What wasn't expected, however, was how nimble Tuihalamaka is, and how effectively he's able to fit his big body through thin run lanes. He's not a fast athlete from a pure speed standpoint, but he's agile, far more fluid than I expected and he has impressive short-area quickness and explosiveness. When you combine that with his high-level instincts, Tuihalamaka is able to cover a lot of ground and get to the football in a hurry. It's impressive how effectively he times up blitzes and run stunts, and his decision making and instincts against the run are special. In that regards he reminds me a great deal of former Irish star Manti Te'o.

The other surprising part of his game was how effectively he gets depth in coverage, and how well he reads routes and makes plays on the ball when playing zone. Tuihalamaka is a strong blitzer inside, and he has traits that should allow him to be an effective edge rusher, which adds versatility to his game.

Jaylen Sneed, LB, 6-2, 215, Hilton Head (S.C.) High School

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 5.0

Rivals: 4-star - No. 31 overall - No. 3 outside linebacker
On3: 4-star - No. 31 overall - No. 3 linebacker
ESPN: 4-star - No. 44 overall - No. 5 outside linebacker
247Sports: 4-star - No. 57 overall - No. 5 linebacker
SI99: No. 62 overall - No. 5 linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 32 overall - No. 4 linebacker

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Sneed isn’t the biggest linebacker, checking in at 6-2 and 215 pounds, but his length is impressive and he has plenty of room to fill out that frame. He shows a strong lower body and the potential to add a good 10-15 more pounds, which will only enhance his power and explosiveness.

What makes him a top prospect at this point is his athleticism and upside. Sneed is an extremely explosive athlete, one with elite burst, impressive lateral quickness and good speed. Much like former Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Sneed likely won’t blow you away with an elite 40-yard dash time, but his initial burst, short-area quickness, change of direction and flexibility makes him play with exceptional speed.

Sneed has the kind of foot quickness and downhill explosiveness that should allow him to eventually develop into an impactful inside linebacker. His range, length and instincts also lend to him being an effective player in space. Sneed is also an outstanding edge rusher thanks to the aforementioned initial burst I talked about and ability to chew up a lot of ground in a hurry.

The Hilton Head star shows a good feel for the game, possessing quick reaction skills and the ability to diagnose between run and pass relatively quickly. At times he doesn’t take the best angles, but that can certainly be improved. He’s a bit of a free-lancer, which needs to be harnessed a bit, and he played defensive end as a junior, so there’s plenty of technique work needed with Sneed, but the tools are truly outstanding.

What I don’t know right now is if Sneed has the coverage instincts to play as a true rover. It’s not that I doubt that he has them, but I just haven’t seen enough of him in coverage on film to really get a feel for how well he’ll perform with that part of the game. He did thrive in coverage this summer during different camps and 7-on-7 tournaments, and he's extremely athletic, so the tools are there. 

Jaden Mickey, CB, 5-11, 175, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 150 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.5

247Sports: 4-star - No. 190 overall - No. 25 cornerback
On3: 4-star - No. 212 overall - No. 20 cornerback
ESPN: 4-star - No. 264 overall - No. 31 cornerback
Rivals: 4-star - No. 37 cornerback
Composite: 4-star - No. 228 overall - No. 30 cornerback

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Mickey had an outstanding junior season, and the result was a jump in grade and ranking on my board. The Centennial standout is a quick-footed and fluid athlete, but as a junior he filled out his frame and showed more speed, which made him an even more impactful player.

Mickey is a smart football player with excellent instincts, something he showed as a sophomore and junior. He thrived in zone coverage as a sophomore due to his intelligence and quickness, but as a junior he was even better in man coverage. That jump was a due to continued maturity from a technique standpoint, but Mickey was stronger, longer and he showed a jump in speed.

The 5-11 cornerback has always been a tough player that was willing to mix it up, but as a junior the aforementioned improved strength made him far more effective in press coverage, and he was also able to re-route more effectively. He always showed the ability to read routes and mirror wideouts, but his improved strength and speed resulted in his coverage grade taking a big jump.

My two knocks on Mickey as a sophomore was his lack of size and speed, but he went a long way towards answering those questions as a junior. Those traits allowed Mickey to be even more productive on the ball as a junior, and projects to be a top-notch run defender at the next level. I mentioned in evaluations prior to his junior season that he had tools to eventually be a Top 100 caliber player, and he took big steps to becoming that player this spring.

Jayden Bellamy, CB/S, 5-11, 175, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic

IB Grade: 3.5 (Top 350 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 4.0

247Sports: 3-star - No. 35 cornerback
Rivals: 3-star - No. 54 cornerback
ESPN: 3-star - No. 55 cornerback
Composite: 3-star - No. 432 overall - No. 41 cornerback

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Bellamy played cornerback and wide receiver as a sophomore at St. John Vianney before moving to Bergen Catholic as a junior, where he played mostly safety.

Bellamy has more of a cornerback build at this point. He's listed at 5-11 and 175 pounds, and he is on the thin side at this point. If Bellamy can fill out his frame it will add a great deal to his versatility.

Even as a sophomore you could see Bellamy's long speed. You can see it when he's playing cornerback, you can see it when he's playing safety as a junior and you see it when he's playing wide receiver. His versatility and speed alone make Bellamy worth taking for a team that is looking to add both to its secondary.

Bellamy shows off a high football IQ on defense. He's a patient cornerback, he takes good angles to the ball and when driving on routes and as a sophomore he got his hands on a lot of footballs while playing cornerback. He did the same thing as a junior, but obviously Covid meant fewer games and fewer opportunities.

Bellamy improved his tackling quite a bit as a safety, showing impressive downhill range against the run and he delivers at the ball with some pop.

Benjamin Morrison, CB, 6-1, 175, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep

IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 150 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 4.5

On3: 4-star - No. 289 overall - No. 35 CB
Rivals: 4-star - No. 29 CB
247Sports: 4-star - No. 33 CB
ESPN: 4-star - No. 47 CB
Composite: 4-star - No. 319 overall - No. 34 CB

Junior Highlights

Film Analysis: Morrison is a very smooth and impressively fluid athlete. He possesses impressive foot quickness, fluid hips and his transitions are clean and quick. Morrison can change direction with ease, both when asked to plant and drive downhill and when asked to open up and run. His ability to quickly flip his hips, both with the initial stem and when handling double moves down the field is outstanding.

You will see Morrison playing off man, press man and zone coverage for Brophy Prep, and he thrives in each area. His length, athleticism, range (long speed) and instincts all fit extremely well to the field cornerback position. Morrison's instincts and tackling ability in space make his field cornerback fit even better, but the Brophy Prep star has the combination of size, athleticism and strength potential to play the boundary and in the slot as well.

The Brophy Prep standout is listed at 6-0 and 175 pounds, but he is long and he plays bigger than that. He's a strong tackler both from a pop standpoint and a technique standpoint. Morrison is thin and has room to add a lot of strength, but he already arrives at the football with force, and he does a great job going low and driving through the legs of ball carriers.

Morrison has a good feel for the position, and his instincts in coverage are top-notch. There are some footwork and technical aspects of the position he'll need to continue improving and cleaning up, but his feel for the game stands out. 


(Grade / Upside)

1. Tobias Merriweather, WR - 4.5 / 5.0
2. Tyson Ford, DE - 4.0 / 5.0
3. Josh Burnham, LB - 4.0 / 5.0
4. Jaylen Sneed, LB - 4.0 / 5.0
5. Aiden Gobaira, DE - 4.0 / 5.0
6. Aamil Wagner, OL - 4.0 / 5.0
7. Benjamin Morrison, CB - 4.0 / 4.5
8. Billy Schrauth, OL - 4.0 / 4.5
9. Joey Tanona, OL - 4.0 / 4.5
10. Niuafe Tuihalamaka, LB - 4.0 / 4.5
11. Jadarian Price, RB - 4.0 / 4.5
12. Holden Staes, TE - 4.0 / 4.5
13. Jaden Mickey, CB - 4.0 / 4.5
14. Nolan Ziegler, LB - 4.0 / 4.5
15. Eli Raridon, TE - 4.0 / 4.5
16. Ty Chan, OL - 4.0 / 4.5
17. Ashton Craig, OL - 3.5 / 4.0
18. Amorion Walker, WR - 3.0 / 4.0
19. Steve Angeli, QB - 3.5 / 4.0
20. Jayden Bellamy, S/CB - 3.5 / 4.0
21. Donovan Hinish, DT - 3.5 / 4.0


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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