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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Early Enrollee OL Focused on Fitting In & Gains

February 5, 2024
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Notre Dame welcomed three offensive line early enrollees last month as Peter Jones, Anthonie Knapp and Styles Prescod are going through their first spring. 

The transition appears to be smooth for all three and simply fitting into the program has been the immediate focus.

“It’s been great,” stated Prescod, who hails from Indiana. “I’ve been having a good time adjusting to the workouts, getting to talk with the guys, meeting them and start building relationships with my teammates. Classes have been going good as well.” 

For freshmen, the biggest adjustment outside of college-level classes comes in the weight room. There are few high school programs that prepare players for college, but freshmen also quickly realize the caliber of athlete they will be competing against, which can be eye-opening. 

Notre Dame has a new Director of Football Performance, so it was going to be new for them either way, but through three weeks, Loren Landow seems to be a hit. 

“He’s fun,” Jones said. "I like him, I do. Definitely a lot of energy. I think his reputation speaks for itself. He’s super knowledgeable, the guys love him. It’s really exciting and I know we’re only on week three. I’m very excited to see how it progresses.”

Prescod has also noticed an uptick in intensity when it comes to training. In fact, the pace of workouts is what really stands out to him as he starts his collegiate career. 

“I think the biggest thing is the pace,” explained Prescod. “Just the tempo of the workouts, whether you’re running or in the weight room, there are not many breaks. You get water here and there, but everybody is pushing each other. That’s probably the biggest difference.

“In high school, you could have some guys that don’t take it that seriously, but everyone is here to get better and here to work.”

Knapp, a Georgia native, has a unique weight room story three weeks into it. The Irish were starting one of the hardest conditioning workouts of the week as he started to feel a bit under the weather. 

“My second week here, it happened to be one of the hardest conditioning days when we were doing a bunch of low-intensity training, but it’s no joke. I had a little cold, so it turned out that after I went to the clinic, I had a 103-degree fever. I’m over here doing the hardest workout with the flu.

“I guess that’s pretty much my welcome to college moment. That’s the only story I have so far, but I’m sure there’s more to come.” 

When it comes to positions, Joe Rudolph has already communicated where each lineman will start the spring. It’s by no means where they will finish the spring or even open fall camp, but it’s a starting spot for each player and most will be doing some cross-training. 

“I’ve known Coach Rudolph for a while with him at Virginia Tech,” explained Knapp. “He’s always talked about seeing me as a five-position player, so I can play anywhere if I need to. Right now, it’s center and right tackle. Those are the two positions I’m training right now. 

“Honestly, it just depends on the weight and everything. He’s not really too amped up about it. Does that make sense? He’s not like ‘Hey, this is your category and this is what you’re going to be.’ You have to learn everything, play spring ball and see what fits best and whatever happens, happens.” 

And no, Knapp has never played center in a game, so snapping has been a focus over his first few weeks on campus and now he’s started to figure out where his eyes and hands need to be as it relates to the opposition. 

“I had to get 100 snaps in every single day,” said Knapp. “I can snap. It’s more the mental aspect about it. I feel like the hardest part for me right now is learning the transition when it comes to the new languages, inside zone, gap scheme and pass pro. I know what it is back at home, but we have different names for different things. I think at center, you have to know all that stuff. I’m trying to be in the playbook all the time, asking Ashton (Craig).” 

Jones, who looks college-ready physically, will work on the interior of the offensive line this spring. 

“As of now, I’m kind of learning both guard positions,” Jones stated. “The biggest thing we’re working on now is to learn all the positions because the more tools you have in you toolbox, the better you can be. Right now, as far as all of us, we’re learning as we go. It’s just as much as you can take in, the better.”

Prescod will start the spring working at left tackle and the plan is for him to also work some on the right side. 

“Rudolph has me playing left tackle,” said Prescod. “Eventually, he said he would have me take a couple reps at right tackle, but right now, I’m working left. “ 

The offseason will also be critical for Knapp and Prescod to begin the process of adding good weight to their frames. Notre Dame lists Jones at 6-foot-5, 292 pounds, while Knapp checks in at 6-foot-4, 266 and Precod is listed at 6-foot-6, 273. 

Prescod knows the importance of hitting his weight goals in year one and he wants to add about 10 more pounds before spring practice starts. 

“Right now, I’m about 280,” explained Prescod. “The goal is for spring ball is about 285, 290. It’s very reasonable.

“Whatever Rudolph needs me at. I’m open to playing wherever. If that means I top out super high or he doesn’t want me to put on that much weight, whatever he needs me to play, that’s the weight I’m going to be at.”

Knapp knows he’ll have to be disciplined to hit his goals, but it’s also what the Notre Dame training and nutrition staff get paid to do, so there is little worry about adding the right weight. 

“I think they do a great job and Alexa (Appleman) is in nutrition and everything,” said Knapp. “Weight has always been an issue for me. Every resource I need is there. I have every opportunity to get my weight up. I wouldn’t say that’s the hard part, but it’s force-feeding yourself and getting in the consistency of eating every single day to the point where you look at food and say, ‘That’s too much.’

“You get the opportunities you need. I’ll be there.” 

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