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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

East OL Coach Sees Big Futures For Aamil Wagner & Ashton Craig At Notre Dame

January 8, 2022

SAN ANTONIO – Tom Sugden doesn’t need any more convincing.

The offensive line coach for the All-American Bowl’s East squad saw enough from 2022 Notre Dame offensive line signees Aamil Wagner‍ and Ashton Craig‍ at practice here this week to be sold on their potential.

“First off, football things aside, they are great human beings, just good kids,” says Sugden, who is the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia.

“We came in here, I had one center and nine offensive tackles. So, I asked those guys, 'What position would you be willing to play?' 'Any position you need, Coach.'”

And Sugden took them up on the offer.

“We're calling it our Irish Package and they’re both playing tight end,” he laughs. “They'll be mixed in at guard, tackle. We only have one center, I have Ashton working at center, so he's playing six positions right now and we're putting in an offense in a week.

“They've been just awesome. Extremely engaging, intelligent young men, asking the right questions. They're just not 'Yessing you to death to get to the next thing.' I've been really impressed with them.”

As for their skills on the field, Sugden calls both, “extremely athletic, extremely sturdy and extremely raw. Their ceilings are extremely high.”

Sugden guessed Wagner and Craig weighed in around 270, 275 pounds “without even trying.”

“Their bodies are going to allow them to put on a healthy 25 pounds of muscle,” he continues. “I think those guys will take off. They're just extremely athletic.

“You look at them and they're not as big as maybe some of the SEC guys we have, but they held their own just as much as the next guy when we competed against the West and when we had those competition periods against our defense. They really impressed me.”

Sugden says their bodies are built to add the mass and strength with relative ease.

“When you look at their frames, they could put 25 pounds of good weight on over the next 18 months,” he says. “Some of these other cats, that's their size. When these guys add some weight and some stuff like that, they'll be able to push d-tackles around a little bit more and things like that. I think Notre Dame fans should be extremely excited.”

Sugden points to natural ability and toughness as to why Craig and Wagner were able to have so much success this week against their larger peers.

“You're not seeing a drop-off,” he says. “It's been pretty cool to see. We've got a 6-8, 340 guy, we've got this guy, we've got this guy and they match up just as well. They're just as talented as those guys even though they might not pass the ‘eye test’ like those other cats from down South.

 “They've just been a pleasure to coach, man. Notre Dame's getting two great kids and I'm excited to see the big things they're going to do in South Bend.”

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