Notre Dame landed Hilton Head (S.C.) High School linebacker Jaylen Sneed last night, capping off what will go down as the best linebacker haul in the country for the 2022 class.
Sneed joined a class that already has standouts Josh Burnham, Niuafe Tuihalamaka and Nolan Ziegler. Sneed us a consensus Top 100 recruit, and both Burnham (247Sports) and Tuihalamaka (ESPN) are both ranked as Top 100 recruits by at least one recruiting service. I grade both Sneed and Burnham as Top 100 linebackers with 5.0-star upside grades.
It's a long, athletic and versatile group of linebackers that is now the strength of the Notre Dame 2022 class.
With Sneed now in the fold the Irish 2022 class is finished at linebacker. So what's next for Notre Dame when it comes to recruiting the linebacker position? Well, now it's on to the 2023 class, and the Irish are already after some outstanding players. With four commits in the 2022 class, Notre Dame could look to land 2-3 backers in next year's class.
TWO ELITES AT THE TOP
Any "dream class" for Notre Dame in the 2023 class is going to include Pickerington (Ohio) Central star Sonny Styles and Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean standout Drayk Bowen.
Styles is a unique prospect that plays safety in high school, and based on what we saw in 2020 he could very well play that position in college. Listed at 6-5 and 215 pounds, Styles has an incredibly athletic frame that should allow him to get to at least 230 pounds naturally.
When you combine that with his physical, downhill style of play as a safety it makes me believe his best ultimate position is one that is closer to the line of scrimmage. The scary thing about Styles is he's just scratching the surface of how good he can be. 247Sports ranks him as the five-star recruit and the No. 13 overall player in the country.
While Styles is more of a safety that could grow into a Rover or Will linebacker, Bowen is more of a pure linebacker already. Bowen is an outstanding athlete that dominates on the football field and the baseball diamond. He's an explosive edge linebacker that could play Rover, Will or even the Mike position, depending on how he fills out his frame.
Notre Dame is in a battle with Ohio State for Styles, while Bowen is being recruited by programs across the country. Neither will be easy to land, but Notre Dame has as good of a shot as anyone at this point.
PLENTY OF TOP PLAYERS STILL ON THE BOARD
Styles and Bowen are 1A and 1B for Notre Dame on the board, and you can pick any order in which to view them. There are other talented linebackers on the board for the 2023 class.
Notre Dame has offered plenty of other top linebackers in the 2023 class.
The Irish hosted Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab linebacker Jaiden Ausberry this summer. He'll be tough to get out of the south, but the nation's No. 30 overall player clearly had enough interest in Notre Dame to make a visit this summer on his own dime.
Notre Dame also hosted another Louisiana star, Many (La.) High School athlete Tackett Curtis. Also a safety in high school, Curtis is a tremendous athlete that is an absolute missile on the football field. He's one of two linebackers not named Styles or Bowen that I would most like to see Notre Dame land. Curtis is ranked as the nation's No. 74 overall player on the 247Sports composite list.
Pittsburgh (Pa.) Brashear star Ta'Mere Robinson is another safety the Irish are looking at as a linebacker. Are you starting to get a picture of what Marcus Freeman is looking for? Long, athletic, rangy, playmaker.
Back to Robinson, he''ll need to keep filling out his frame, but he's long, athletic, makes a ton of plays and despite being young and thin he is more than willing to fly downhill and deliver a hit.
Two more linebackers to keep an eye on are Lawrence (Mass.) Central Catholic two-way standout Preston Zinter and Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei Catholic middle linebacker Tre Edwards.
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