Story Poster
Photo by Matt Freeman
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Decision Day | 2022 Notre Dame LB Target Jaylen Sneed

July 12, 2021

Notre Dame’s 2022 defensive class is shaping up to be one of Brian Kelly’s best as it’s a phenomenal combination of depth and game wreckers. 

The Fighting Irish desperately needed a solid linebacker haul this cycle and Marcus Freeman has gone above and beyond to this point. It would be very difficult to find a better linebacker corps of Nolan Ziegler‍, Joshua Burnham‍ and Niuafe Tuihalamaka‍, but there is one remaining piece as Hilton Head (S.C.) star Jaylen Sneed‍ will decide between Notre Dame and Oregon on Monday. 

Notre Dame jumped out in front early in the spring as Sneed and his high school BJ Payne made the trip to South Bend to walk around campus on their own. It was a trip that could pay off big if Sneed were to choose the Irish on Monday as the four-star prospect left Notre Dame extremely impressed and he had yet to meet the coaching staff or the players. 

Oregon has always been the team to watch with Sneed as he admits the Ducks were a childhood favorite and his dream school. 

The Ducks rolled out the red carpet and were able to impress Sneed and his family on his official visit, which closed the gap on Notre Dame. 

According to sources, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal and his staff made sure Sneed knew he could be one of the final pieces to the Ducks making a run at a National Title. Cristobal has recruited defense extremely well since he arrived in Eugene and it’s easy to see a player like Sneed fitting in with former five-star prospects Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe, who are entering their second year in the program. 

It’s a similar message to what Notre Dame has preached as Sneed could be a game-changer on at least two levels of the defense in Freeman’s scheme and be a piece to get the Irish over the hump. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has some Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in him as he’s a quick edge player, but he’s likely going to play heavier than the Butkus Award winner, so he could be used as a pass rusher more than JOK and could even play inside backer. 

Heading into the Notre Dame official visit, the key for Notre Dame was to sell Sneed’s family on the program. Mission accomplished as multiple sources have said Sneed’s family had an extremely positive experience and felt more than comfortable with the Irish program. 

What could be the difference in this one? 

It’s likely Marcus Freeman. The first-year defensive coordinator offered Sneed at Cincinnati and quickly made sure to offer him when he took the Notre Dame job. The relationship is extremely strong and there is a sense of trust there as Freeman has known Payne for years as well. The trust has led to comfort, which has put Notre Dame in a position to land one of the most dynamic defenders in the country. 

If the Irish add Sneed, Notre Dame would have the top linebacker class in the country and have another player who can play multiple spots in Freeman’s scheme. 

Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee State, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Toledo, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia 

ISD: 94 (four-star) 
247: 93 (four-star)
Rivals: 6.0 (four-star)
ESPN: 84 (four-star) 
Composite: 97.04 (four-star)

Junior Highlights

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.