In what looks to be a small recruiting class, relatively-speaking, it may seem odd to reserve a spot for a long snapper. That is what Notre Dame has done in the class of 2020, nonetheless, and Alex Peitsch (St. John’s College High School; Washington, D.C.) committed to fill that spot Wednesday evening.
Rather than a questionable use of a scholarship in a tight class, this continues an Irish pattern under head coach Brian Kelly. When Kelly arrived at Notre Dame, Jordan Cowart was entering his sophomore season as the established long snapper with three years of eligibility remaining. Scott Daly arrived in 2012, Cowart’s last season, and Daly preserved a year of eligibility before handling the duties for the next four seasons. Kelly brought in John Shannon before Daly’s final campaign, also spending a season on the sideline. Shannon has now served as long snapper for two years.
Peitsch will arrive as Shannon enters his final season, right on schedule.
“I had a couple of other schools looking at me, but as a specialist, you don’t get 30+ offers,” Peitsch told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “It’s very limited. So with Notre Dame — how can I get [a school] better than that?”
The eighth commitment in the class, Peitsch will then be expected to be the long snapper of record from 2021 to 2024.
Why have two long snappers on scholarship once every four years? The role can make-or-break a game as much as a punter or placekicker can, if not more so. If a punter shanks a punt, there are still plenty of chances for the defense to stop the opposition without scoring. The same goes for a placekicker missing a field goal. But if a long snapper fires the ball past the punter or the kicker, the only people running toward it and the opposite end zone are the opposition’s blitzers.
Better to give up a scholarship every so often and attempt to prepare against such a disaster.