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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Early 2025 Standouts

June 29, 2023
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College football recruiting has reached the one slow time of the year as the summer Dead Period has arrived, which means no visits or in-person contact can be made between coaches and prospects. 

Notre Dame is currently in good shape in 2024 as the Fighting Irish hold the No. 5 recruiting class in the country per 247’s Composite Rankings. 

The slow period allows folks in our position a chance to catch up on the 2025 recruiting class as spring film is out, but also the board for every school is much larger following the Spring Evaluation Period as several offers went out last month. 

If you’re reading this, you probably have seen some of the top names in the country, so this is a list a few prospects Notre Dame has offered who probably aren’t getting talked about enough as it relates solely to their talents on the field.

RB Waltez Clark‍ - Plant HS - Florida
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder certainly isn’t a secret nationally, but after watching the film, it’s hard to see him not being a Top 50 player by this time next year. Clark obviously has ideal size and his speed makes him a unique prospect as few have both. 

As a sophomore, Clark ran 87 times for 863 yards and 18 touchdowns while also adding 27 receptions for 5112 yards and four more scores. Yes, that’s 9.9 yards per carry and 19.0 yards per catch. 

Clark’s ability to be explosive in the run and pass game also separates him from his peers. The Irish offered back on April 27th. It will be interesting to see when the rankings catch up to his offer list as I firmly believe Clark is one of the best football players in the entire country. 

Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo, USC, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Western Michigan 

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: N/R
ESPN: 81 (four-star) 

Sophomore Highlights


WR Talyn Taylor‍ - Geneva Community HS - Illinois 
Notre Dame has made Taylor a priority since offering in March, but he’s still a name that doesn’t come up too often. In fact, if you’re looking for a Notre Dame comparison, I’d say it’s a similar recruitment to 2024 commit Cam Williams‍ or 2024 Georgia commit Nitro Tuggle‍. I think most people know he’s a quality ball player, but Taylor is just scratching the surface and quietly adding to his offer list. 

Taylor is a big play receiver as he can go up and get a jump ball or turn a routine 11-yard out into a 75-yard touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder doesn’t play the best competition, but much like Williams, Taylor runs circles around his competition and it’s easy to see how his skillset translates to the college game. If you’re looking for a potential No. 1 receiver, Taylor is your guy. The name that comes to mind watching Taylor is Will Fuller. I don’t believe the Illinois native has the elite straight-line speed of Fuller (as of now), but the playmaking ability from all areas of the field reminds me a bit of the former Notre Dame star.

Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Miami, Miami (OH), Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah and Wisconsin

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: 6.0 (four-star)
ESPN: 81 (four-star)

Sophomore Highlights


DT Jarquez Carter‍ - Newberry HS - Florida 
I’d love to see Carter in person to get a true judge for his size, but Al Washington has so that’s valued more than my opinion, but interior defensive linemen are the hardest to get a true feel for their size. I don’t pretend to be a defensive line expert as we have own in-house DL God in Jamie Uyeyama, but I love Carter’s game. 

He’s violent and plays with passion. You can tell from watching his film that he loves ball and everything that comes with being in the middle of the trenches. The 6-foot-3, 275-pounder is explosive off the snap, but also seems to be able to use his hands better than some 2024 prospects I’ve watched. Carter is also easily going to get over 300 pounds and if he can maintain his explosion - watch out. 

Carter reminds me of the typical interior defensive lineman you see coming out of the Ohio State program. The Buckeyes haven’t had the massive interior guys you have seen at Alabama or Georgia, but they are quick, explosive and are in that 6-3 to 6-4 range. 

I’m not sure why Carter’s list isn’t on a national level, but I’d be surprised if he’s not someone who blows up this fall. 

Offers: Arkansas State, Central Florida, UConn, Florida A&M, Georgia State, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Florida, Temple and Western Kentucky 

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: N/R
Rivals: N/R
ESPN: N/R

Sophomore Highlights


DE CJ May‍ - Highland Home HS - Alabama 
May was just at Notre Dame, so there is definitely some bias here as he’s fresh in my mind. The Alabama native is a pure pass rusher and while his game is still very raw, the tools are there for him to be a very good college player. 

He’s up to 225 pounds this summer, which is half the battle for edge rushers, and he could grow into a strongside end, while also maintaining his ability to get after the quarterback because of his athleticism. If he does grow into a strongside end, May is comparable to Javontae Jean-Baptiste more than say Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. It’s been a few years since Notre Dame has been able to apply consistent pressure off both edges at a high level. 

May will need development, but there is just so much to work with there. 

Offers: Alabama State, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Troy and UAB

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: N/R
ESPN: N/R

Sophomore Highlights


LB Madden Faraimo‍ - J Serra Catholic - California 
I believe ISD readers were reminded of Faraimo’s talents a few weeks ago when we reported he was on campus, but this is another reminder that he’s one of the best football players in the country. Notre Dame loves to find kids like Faraimo as he can play all over the defense in base or sub-packages. 

Faraimo has the Marist Liufau/Jordan Botelho mentality of running through everyone in his way, but he’s also a good athlete in space. Now, he plays a unique role like Notre Dame’s rover position, however, I think he’ll be in the box as a traditional linebacker or vyper. The ability to play in space will come in handy for Faraimo as college defensive coordinators do drop the edge into coverage more these days. I wouldn’t say Faraimo is as complete of a linebacker as Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa‍, but it’s close and he fits into any scheme with his skillset. 

Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Colorado, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, San Diego State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington 

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 92 (four-star)
Rivals: 5.9 (four-star)
ESPN: 86 (four-star) 

Sophomore Highlights


CB Mark Zackery IV‍ - Ben Davis HS - Indiana 
Notre Dame and Mike Mickens have recruited and evaluated the cornerback position well over the last few years. 2025 is no different as the class is not only deep in talent, but Notre Dame has had several of its top targets on campus. You saw Buford (Ga.) star Devin Williams‍’ camp clips and it’s hard not to be impressed and Brophy Prep (Ariz.) cornerback Cree Thomas‍ is a name that is talked about often. Yet, Zackary is quietly making moves up the board of many schools following his spring and summer. 

Zackery’s film is impressive as you can tell he has athleticism, length and size, but also he has no issues helping in the run game. There is a want to be physical, but perhaps the part of his game I personally love the most is how he attacks the ball. Zackery is aggressive playing the ball, but does it under control. He has fluid hips and feet, which make mirroring the receiver easy for him, and then he has the explosion to attack the ball. It’ll be fascinating to see where he’s at 3-4 years from now after he’s introduced to a college strength and conditioning program as he has the natural physical traits you look for in a cornerback, but he could develop into a much better athlete once he gets stronger and naturally becomes more explosive. 

Georgia and Ohio State were his last two offers following camp performances. 

Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Louisville, Miami (OH), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Toledo, USC, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Michigan and Wisconsin 

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: 5.8 (four-star)
ESPN: 80 (four-star) 

Sophomore Highlights


S Matai Tagoa'i‍ - Faith Lutheran HS - Nevada
Notre Dame has once again found a unicorn at the safety position as Tagoa’i is that rare prospect who is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds and still projects as a secondary player. Yes, he could grow into the rover position, but like Sonny Styles, Tagoa’i has the ability to stick at safety.

Tagoa’i isn’t the athlete of Kyle Hamilton, but both have natural instincts you can’t necessarily teach. The ball seems to find Tagoa’i or he’s in a position to make a big hit or play. And probably like Hamilton, Tagoa’i isnt’ going to blow up the 40-yard dash, but that’s fine because he has length, which is the equalizer. 

Between Tagoa’i, Kendall Daniels Jr.‍, Ethan Long‍, Trey McNutt III‍, Kelvin Winston‍ and Jordan Young‍, I really like where Notre Dame’s safety board is at in terms of talent. Long and McNutt have been to campus multiple times already, while Young has been on campus. 

Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Central Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, San Diego State, Tennessee, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Utah and Washington 

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: 5.8 (four-star)
ESPN: 81 four-star) 

Sophomore Highlights


QB Ryan Montgomery‍ - Findlay HS - Ohio
It’s clear Mississippi quarterback Deuce Knight‍ is the No. 1 target for the Irish in 2025, but Montgomery was the first offer in the class back on October 21st of 2021. Sure, was part of it strategy to stay in the race for his brother, Luke Montgomery‍? Sure. 

That said, Notre Dame and Montgomery haven’t been in contact over the last year, but the Ohio native has continued to add offers and develop his game. I’ve seen him live more than a few times, including earlier this month where he worked out with Ohio State receiver commit Mylan Graham‍ in Fort Wayne. 

Montgomery can make every throw with ease, but his maturity and ability to adjust and process stands out the most. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is ahead of his peers when it comes to understanding what to do with the football and it stands out. Montgomery recently had a strong showing at the Under Armour Future 50 event last week as he won the accuracy challenge and dominated the 7-on-7 portion of the day. 

Ohio State recently took a commitment from 2025 Ohio quarterback Tavien St. Clair‍ after offering Montomgery early so it will be interesting to see what happens with the four-star moving forward. 

Offers: Auburn, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Miami (OH), Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Toledo, UAB, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Washington and Wisconsin  

Ranking
ISD: N/R
247: 90 (four-star)
Rivals: 5.9 (four-star)
ESPN: 82 four-star) 

Sophomore Highlights

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