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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

New 2025 Notre Dame LB Target Riley Pettijohn Checks Boxes

May 23, 2023

2025 Texas linebacker Riley Pettijohn‍ certainly has the pedigree of a big-time college football prospect.

“His dad is a former All-American defensive lineman from Syracuse,” one source close to Pettijohn says of his father, Duke Pettijohn. “He played with Dwight Freeney. He had all the sack and tackle records until Dwight Freeney broke them.

“So, he gets a lot of that just naturally from his dad. I mean, the kid has been athletic his entire life. He played basketball his freshman year as well in the offseason.”

The source says Pettijohn really began to blow up this past offseason when he dropped hoops to focus on football and track.

“And he eats and he eats and he eats and he eats,” the source laughs. “He went from 175 at the end of the year, and now he's sitting a touch under 210.”

The 6-foot-2 Pettijohn could still add more weight without losing any speed or athleticism, according to this source.

“His frame holds that,” the source says. “We're just trying to keep his speed where it's at. We're trying to make sure that he's still athletic enough to move around.”

McKinney High School moved him from outside linebacker to inside linebacker for the upcoming season.

“He is going to be the freakiest Mike that anybody's ever seen in the state of Texas,” the source says.

Pettijohn has been collecting major scholarship offers and added Notre Dame to a list that also includes schools like Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC, Auburn, Duke, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss and Oregon among several others.

“The kid's going to end up with everybody and their brother by the time it's all said and done,” the source says. “His work ethic is just very unnatural for a 15-year-old. He works his ass off every single day. He's consistent in how he works from classroom to on-field to off-field. There's no switch-up in his attitude or his demeanor.

“He's just one of the best kids that I've personally ever been around.”

It’s still a bit early to know where the Irish will end up falling on his growing list, but it seems clear what Pettijohn is looking for in a college.

“I think that he's going to end up going to a school where he's got a great relationship with the linebacker coach, a great relationship with the DC,” the source says, adding it’ll have to be a place where his family feels comfortable.

Look for Pettijohn to start seriously sorting through his options this summer.

“He'll have his pick of the litter and he's going to start trimming that list down,” the source says. “He's already visited, a handful of schools and so he's going to start working through more visits, this spring and this summer.”

Pettijohn is likely to hit the road in the coming months as well in order to get a true feel for his options.

“It is just going to be a matter of who piques his interest on what visits and if he can kind of decipher who's the snakes and who's the ones who actually like him and actually want him. He's got family from all over, so there's not really a tie to any specific school.”

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