Notre Dame’s recruiting class of 2019 will go down as the exception proving an Irish rule. In the last six recruiting cycles, that was the only year Notre Dame did not chase down two tight ends, instead signing none. The current cycle, the sixth in that timeline, now has its second pledge with consensus four-star tight end Holden Staes (Westminster High School; Atlanta) committing to the Irish on Saturday.
Setting aside the entire cycle, Staes joins consensus three-star tight end Eli Raridon (Valley H.S.; West Des Moines, Iowa) in committing to Notre Dame just this week.
The No. 14 tight end in the class, per rivals.com, and No. 32 player in Georgia, States originally committed to Penn State in August, then de-commiting in February. The Irish offered him a scholarship later that week. He chose Notre Dame over … everybody. Staes was offered by his homestate Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State, not to mention Texas, Oklahoma and Florida State.
They all wanted a 6-foot-4 frame that looks to be taller than that against his current competition, which given it is high school football in Georgia is unlikely to be the case. Instead, that visual illusion suggests Staes’ reach exceeds 6-foot-4.
He runs crisper routes than are usually expected from a high school junior, let alone one playing in a truncated season after a lost summer. To use football parlance that can seem a bit obvious but is still descriptive, Staes’ hands do not fight the ball.
At the prep level, he also plays defensive end, where Staes’ quickness and agility are showcased a bit more than they are on clear seam routes on offense. Those seam routes are so clear because of the aforementioned attention to detail in his route running and because of the speed accompanying his long stride.
The 13th commitment in the Irish class of 2022, Staes’ — and Raridon’s — commitment comes on the heels of consensus three-star tight end Jack Nickel’s de-commitment a few weeks ago.
This duo will join a roster, assuming both do indeed end up signing with Notre Dame, ripe with tight ends thanks to this two-per-year approach. Currently, the Irish will have Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman as juniors in 2022, Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans as sophomores, and Staes and Raridon as freshmen. That is not even mentioning the fact that current senior George Takacs has three years of eligibility remaining and has long shown strong hands.
About that time… what’s the move? pic.twitter.com/bb1xgtxUl6
— Holden Staes (@Hstaes13) May 6, 2021