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Notre Dame Football

Uyeyama's Most Important 2022 Targets

June 14, 2021

Official visits started at Notre Dame this past weekend and everyone is waiting for more commitments. I don’t believe we’ll have to wait very long, but can understand why some are impatient.

We’ve predicted that the Irish could add as many as 10 commitments before August 1 and there isn’t any reason to think that won’t still happen after a successful first weekend of official visits. However, it would be false to say that some prospects aren’t more important to the composition of the class than others.

A lot of that has to do with need and where the board stands with other prospects at specific positions.

It’s obvious that Notre Dame needs to come out of the next couple of months with some key commitments in place in the defensive backfield. There isn’t one player in particular who stands out as more important than others, though. That’s primarily because the staff appears to be in a good position for several players who have and will visit.

Each of them are prospects who I view as being very good.  However it shakes out, it should end up pretty well for Notre Dame. For that reason, no one who projects to play in the secondary was included on my list.

I didn’t ignore the greatest position of need for the Irish in this class. Wide receiver is number one, two, three, four and five on the list of importance for them when considering how they have filled out the class so far. That’s why not one, but two receivers made my list of most important prospects on the board.

WR Tobias Merriweather‍ 

ISD’s Christian McCollum reported that Merriweather’s timeline might stretch into the fall with him potentially taking more visits then. Christian also reported that Notre Dame made quite the impression on Merriweather on his family this past weekend and that the Irish are in a good position right now.

Every Irish fan should hope it stays that way or that he gets to a point soon where he realizes that Notre Dame is the place for him. A player with his type of talent is needed to help take the offense to the next level.

He’s a perfect fit on the boundary with his big body and ability to win contested catches. He also has the strength to be a beast after the catch. He has true WR1 traits in my opinion.

I think he’s a guy that can help out Notre Dame in year two at the very least. That and his overall ceiling is why he’s one of the most important prospects on the board.

WR CJ Williams‍ 

Williams is another very important prospect in this class and one of the main reasons is his extremely high floor. He’s an advanced route runner at his age and his body control is elite.

I know some aren’t in love with him as a prospect because he’s not a true burner. His compete level is so high against great competition, though. When the ball is in the air, he’s going to find a way to come down with it.

He can be an early impact player in the slot or the outside and it once again comes down to him being able to help the program early in his career. Being able to pull a player out of Mater Dei in southern California would be a cherry on top, but Williams’ ability to be someone who I believe can win consistently on 3rd down is why I view him as such an important prospect.

OL Billy Schrauth‍ 

Schrauth just finished his official visit and many think he'll end up in the class, as has been predicted for a long time now. I think it’s critical that Jeff Quinn and company close with him for a couple of reasons.

The first is that I think he's a great prospect. There just aren’t many O-linemen who can move like him to the second level and he has this natural pop on contact that separates him from many other prospects.

The second is that I view him as a swing prospect. He’s someone who probably ends up at guard, but has the size and athletic profile to play tackle. Already committed Ty Chan‍ projects to tackle and the other O-line commitment, Joey Tanona‍, is someone who I believe will be an interior option.

Schrauth gives Notre Dame a bit more flexibility for that fourth O-lineman that they are looking to add. If they are unable to land Jake Taylor‍ (sounds unlikely) or Aamil Wagner‍ (we’ll see after his official visit), having Schrauth in the fold puts less pressure to reach for another tackle in a cycle when it’s not the deepest year at position.

LB Jaylen Sneed‍ 

This really has nothing to do with need and everything to do with how I view Sneed as a prospect. I recently bumped his grade up from 92 to 94 after viewing more footage of him in coverage, which was something he didn’t do much at his high school.

Needless to say he looks like he can be a difference-maker with that aspect of his game with his speed, length, and fluidity. He is a twitched up athlete who could anywhere from Rover to inside to even lining up off the edge. His snap anticipation when doing so on film is exceptional.

Adding him to the linebacker group in this class along with Joshua Burnham‍, Nolan Ziegler‍, and potentially Niuafe Tuihalamaka‍ would be the best linebacker haul Notre Dame has signed in many, many years. It’s the kind of group that could be foundational for the defense under new coordinator Marcus Freeman.

Sneed is visiting campus right now and it would be huge if this visit sealed him as a commitment for Notre Dame.

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