Freeman, Staff Welcomes Class ND 2022 on Early Signing Day | Sports

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SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman welcomed many new faces to the Fighting Irish football schedule on Wednesday.

Despite Brian Kelly’s withdrawal from Notre Dame, Freeman has managed to retain almost all of the Irish’s 2022 class, which is ranked seventh (according to 247Sports).

The only two releases were from four-star defensive back Devin Moore of Naples, Fla., And four-star wide receiver CJ Williams of Santa Ana, Calif.

A total of 21 commits signed letters of intent on Wednesday morning. According to 247Sports, the class consisted of a five-star, 16 four-star, three three-star, and one two-star. The Irish have inked a quarterback, five offensive linemen, a running back, a wide receiver, two tight ends, three defensive backs, four linebackers, three defensive linemen and a punter.

“I just want to make sure we start off with how excited I am about this class of 21 guys,” Freeman said. “I was appointed head coach less than two weeks ago, and my thought process was, ‘How do we keep this class together? When you have a leadership change, you open the door to uncertainty, and that’s what you’ve seen with a lot of these kids. It’s like, ‘Is this where I want to be? Wait, did I make the right decision? ‘ and all these different things.

“We did an incredible job. Our staff have done an incredible job. What you learned about this class is the majority of these kids, they were dedicated to Notre Dame. It was not just one person. It wasn’t about who the head coach was. It was about Notre-Dame and those children who loved Notre-Dame.

A LOOK AT THE BEST PLAYERS

The Irish have signed a slew of top-notch rookies in key areas of need ahead of the 2022 season.

On the defensive end, the Irish made great strides in the trenches by signing two four-star defensive linemen to Tyson Ford (St. Louis) and Aiden Gobaira (Chantilly, Virginia). Ford is the 140th player overall in the 2022 category, while Gobaira is in 212th. Both are tall at 6 feet 6 inches, 260 pounds and 6-5, 235, respectively. The development potential should be very high for both players.

Notre Dame has also handled high quality players in linebacker and defensive back positions. Cornerback Jaden Mickey of Corona, Calif., Is the best secondary prospect in the class. At 5-11, 175, Mickey’s ranked the 200th overall player in the 2022 class.

The top two rookies in the class, including the only five-star, are linebackers. Four-star Joshua Burnham of Traverse City, Mich., Is the 118th overall. At 6-4, 225, look for him to work on as he develops during his Irish career.

The best rookie in the class was five-star Jaylen Sneed. The Hilton Head, South Carolina native was the only top 100 rookie (35th overall) Notre Dame managed to sign in that class.

“These are huge additions to this class,” Freeman said. “We needed it. We lose three or maybe four linebackers as we go forward. We knew it was a position where we had to bring in guys who could be of immediate help and who could grow. … I think the talent and the skills are there for what we will need in the future.

Offensively, Notre-Dame made sure to stock up on one of its most important positions: the offensive line. The Irish added four, four stars, Ohio native Aamil Wagner (6-6, 265) and Massachusetts native, Ty Chan (6-6, 300) being the top-ranked at 128th and 136th respectively.

“It’s a strength for us,” said offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. “And that’s something we talked about getting into this cycle. We said that we must keep our strengths our strengths. The offensive line class that we have put in place, I would oppose anyone in the country. I think that as a collective and personal group, we have done a very good job to close this class.

To the skill posts, the Irish added talented four-star running back Jadarian Price of Denison, Texas. At the tight end, the Irish signed Eli Raridon. At 6-6, 228, the West Des Moines, Iowa native continued to evolve throughout his high school career to become the four-star he signed on Wednesday.

“COVID has probably done us a service that people couldn’t see it live,” Rees said. “What made the difference for him was when we shot his basketball movie a year ago. His athleticism is obvious.… To me the sky is the limit with his potential. We’re extremely excited about him, and lately he’s kind of gotten the recognition he deserves.

One area that should leave Freeman and his staff concerned is the wide receiver. Losing Williams’ commitment has been tough for a team that could see as many as three big contributors on the away graduate after this season. The Irish have managed to sign four-star Tobias Merriweather from Washington (124th overall), but expect Notre Dame to dive into the transfer portal soon to resolve the potential depth issue in the offseason.

“We’ll go back after the season, go up and look and look and say, ‘Where are we with the guys who can possibly come back for another year compared to these guys leaving? “Said Freeman.” What are we facing, in terms of numbers, in the wide receivers room? If we have to go to the transfer portal, we will. If we have to start recruiting more high school students for class 2023, we will. These are still things that are an ongoing process in terms of our current roster. “

Even with the question marks left to the wide receiver, this will remain one of the best recruiting classes Notre Dame has had in a long time. If it were to stay in 7th place after signing in February, it would be the best class ranking since 2013 (fifth overall).

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