The pressing Notre Dame concern might be on how to conjure up a quarterback competition this spring, but the longer view worries who will force early-enrolled freshman Tyler Buchner into a future competition.
Rivals.com four-star quarterback Steve Angeli (Bergen Catholic High School; Oradell, N.J.) provided that answer with a Thursday night Irish commitment.
Long expected to be Notre Dame’s quarterback in the class of 2022, now at eight Irish pledges with only so much space yet available, Angeli actually sped up his recruiting timeline due to the extended dead period banning official visits until at least the end of May.
“When the dead period got pushed back again, I hunkered down and wanted to get this done with,” Angeli said to Blue & Gold Illustrated. “I’ve been deciding on Notre Dame for about a month, talking to my family and coaches.”
All the same, Angeli did manage a self-guided visit to campus in December, helping him choose the Irish over offers from all the Power Five conferences, including 10 from the Big Ten (led by his first offer, Ohio State), six from the ACC and even three from the Pac 12 on the far coast, most notably from Oregon.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees also played a key part in Angeli’s decision, if not the primary part.
“During my first conversation with coach Rees, I was blown away with how much we connected and how right it felt,” Angeli said. “When I got the offer from them, I got the feeling that I haven’t gotten with any other school or coach.”
The No. 13 pro-style passer in the class of 2022, per rivals.com, Angeli has notable size at 6-foot-2, if not 6-foot-3. He has a penchant for accuracy, though also a bad habit of not always setting his feet before letting go, instead relying on his natural strength to complete his heaves against overmatched defensive backs. That will not work out as well at the next level.
Angeli’s quick, condensed throwing motion should deprive the hamster wheel of criticism from begging Rees to revamp it, especially since it packs enough zip for Angeli to complete the back-shoulder/comeback route even on the far sideline.
While not a dual-threat quarterback — more Ian Book in mobility than Rees, but best described as somewhere on the Book half of the spectrum although not by too much — Angeli does not lose any confidence with the ball tucked. The third play of his top highlight reel features him hurdling a defender, and the fourth shows Angeli spinning out of a sack.
Notre Dame’s quarterback room is currently led by what is considered to be a one-year stopgap in Wisconsin graduate transfer Jack Coan. The expectation is Coan will keep the Irish competitive and in the top-15 while Buchner gets up to speed, and then the southern California product will become Notre Dame’s quarterback of the future.
Perhaps that goes to plan. If so, someone is needed to back up Buchner down the line, particularly given how his taking over as the starter in 2022 would increase the odds of current rising sophomore Drew Pyne and/or rising junior Brendon Clark transferring.
Perhaps that does not go to plan, at which point, Angeli’s accurate passes and willingness to make plays will be even more necessary.