Notre Dame has added its second public commitment of the 2022 class with Milton (Ga.) High School tight end Jack Nickel announcing his pledge to the Fighting Irish.
Nickel is the latest in a long time of talented prep tight ends to commit to Notre Dame.
The talented Georgia tight end had offers from LSU, Oregon, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida State, Nebraska, Louisville, Michigan State, Purdue, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Kentucky, NC State, Boston College, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Colorado, Maryland and Vanderbilt.
Let's take a look at what his commitment means for the Irish.
Notre Dame landed two tight ends in the 2018 class, skipped the 2019 class and landed the nation's best one-two punch at the position in the country in the 2020 class when it signed Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman.
That puts Notre Dame in position to be quite picky in the 2021 and 2022 classes. Notre Dame landed talented four-star Cane Berrong in the 2021 class, and position coach John McNulty identified Nickel as a top target immediately when he arrived.
It's a strong tight end class so far, and Notre Dame could have been a player for just about anyone in the class, but the staff prioritized Nickel right away. Landing Nickel this early means Notre Dame should be done at the position in the 2022 class.
McNulty can now focus on 2023 tight ends, but he's also now freed up to help with other offensive players in the 2021 and 2022 classes.
Notre Dame is still pushing for 2021 Ohio tight end Mitchell Evans, but he's a luxury at this point, and his game is quite different than Nickel and Berrong.
NOTRE DAME FIT
I'm a fan of complements at skill positions, and that's one of the reasons I like this pickup for the Irish. Both Berrong in the 2021 class and Nickel in the 2022 class have diverse games, but they complement each other nicely.
Berrong can play all over the field, lining up on the edge or in a wing position just as effectively as he can play the slot and line up out of the box. Nickel can do the same thing, but Nickel projects more to be more of a traditional tight end due to him having a tremendous frame for such a young player.
There is some throwback to Nickel's game, which means he and Berrong can be on the field together and attack the defense in different ways. That is the ideal one-two punch at the position, and we saw that in 2019 with Cole Kmet and Tommy Tremble.
Nickel is listed at 6-4 and 230 pounds, which means he's already listed bigger than Berrong. He has the frame that should allow him to grow another inch and add at least 20 more pounds before he graduates high school.
The Milton standout is a weapon over the middle and up the seams. He tracks the deep ball extremely well and snatches the ball out of the air. As he gets bigger and stronger his ability to dominate in close areas will only be enhanced.
Nickel is a willing blocker, and as he matures and gets stronger it should become a significant strength of his game.
This was a strong pickup for Notre Dame. Nickel is just scratching the surface of how good he can be. Notre Dame made the decision to push for him over more ready-made players. He is currently ranked No. 296 by ESPN, but he's a three-star by Rivals and 247Sports. I fully expect his ranking to climb higher and higher as he develops his game.
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes.
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Follow me on Parler: @BryanDriskell
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook