Notre Dame has put together two outstanding offensive classes in a row, but the Irish need yet another strong haul on that side of the ball in order to keep up with programs like Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.
Below is the Irish Breakdown analysis, grades and rankings for all of the Notre Dame commits on offense. As more prospects join the class they will be added to this board.
NOTRE DAME COMMITS - OFFENSE
1) Tobias Merriweather, WR, 6-4, 180, Vancouver (Wash.) Union
2) Billy Schrauth, OL, 6-5, 280, Fond Du Lac (Wis.) St. Marys Springs
3) Jadarian Price, RB, 5-11, 180, Denison (Texas) High
4) Joey Tanona, OL, 6-5, 290, Zionsville (Ind.) High School
5) Holden Staes, TE, 6-4, 230, Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster
6) Eli Raridon, TE, 6-6, 225, West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley
7) Ty Chan, OL, 6-6, 300, Lawrence (Mass.) Academy
8) Aamil Wagner, OL, 6-6, 265, Dayton (Ohio) Wayne
9) Ashton Craig, OL, 6-5, 280, Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School
10) Steve Angeli, QB, 6-3, 215, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic
11) Amorion Walker, WR, 6-3, 170, Ponchatoula (La.) High
Analysis of each 2022 offensive commit:
1) TOBIAS MERRIWEATHER, WIDE RECEIVER
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
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.
2) BILLY SCHRAUTH, OFFENSIVE LINE
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
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.
3) JADARIAN PRICE, RUNNING BACK
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
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.
4) JOEY TANONA, OFFENSIVE LINE
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
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.
5) HOLDEN STAES, TIGHT END
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
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.
6) ELI RARIDON, TIGHT END
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
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.
7) TY CHAN, OFFENSIVE TACKLE
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
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.
8) AAMIL WAGNER, OFFENSIVE LINE
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
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.
9) ASHTON CRAIG, OFFENSIVE LINE
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
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.
10) STEVE ANGELI, QUARTERBACK
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
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.
11) AMORION WALKER, WIDE RECEIVER
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
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.
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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