Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 11 Ron Powlus III, early-enrolled freshman quarterback

Ron Powlus Notre Dame
Notre Dame Athletics

Listed measurements: 6-foot-2 ⅝, 225 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: An early enrollee this past spring, Powlus has four seasons of eligibility ahead of him.
Depth Chart: Powlus’ short-term duties will consist almost entirely of signalling in plays from the sideline, suggesting he is lower than fourth on Notre Dame’s depth chart.
Recruiting: Powlus signing with the Irish in December’s signing period was somewhat a surprise, not so much a recruit that had been actively tracked. His offer list consisted of two MAC schools, an FCS-level program, Yale and Kentucky, apparently along with Notre Dame.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
If any quarterback on Notre Dame’s roster can offer a strong endorsement for any local restaurant, it should be the passer who grew up in South Bend, not the starter or the highly-sought recruit.

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN POWLUS SIGNED
Irish head coach Brian Kelly did his best to make it clear Powlus was long part of Notre Dame’s recruiting plan.

“Ron was somebody we were recruiting from the very beginning. He was an early take for us and we wanted him part of our program from day one. We felt we needed two quarterbacks. We were transparent with all of our quarterbacks. They knew we were taking two quarterbacks, so that wasn’t a mystery. We were pretty upfront with that and very clear with the fact we were taking a second quarterback. We felt like we needed a second quarterback. We like the fact there was a connection with the program with Ronnie. We’ve seen him quite a bit. It was an easy take for us.”

QUOTES
Bringing in Powlus may be a reflection of the relaxed scholarship maximums for 2021 due to the pandemic, but then-Irish recruiting coordinator Brian Polian said it tied to Notre Dame’s health in the quarterback room. As of the December signing period, all the Irish knew they would have in 2021 was a banged-up junior Brendon Clark, sophomore Drew Pyne and coming off a long layoff freshman Tyler Buchner.

“We could not go into next season with three scholarship quarterbacks,” Polian said. “It’s just irresponsible. To set your roster up the right way, you got to have at least four scholarship guys, and we thought that Ronnie would be an ideal second quarterback in this class.”

2021 OUTLOOK
The irony of using Powlus to bolster the quarterbacks room is he has also been “snake-bitten” the last few seasons, to use Polian’s description. A shoulder injury cost Powlus his junior year, and then the pandemic made things rather murky throughout his senior season, though he still led Penn High School to the state playoffs.

So Powlus will also need to reacclimate himself a bit to football in 2021. He should have plenty of time to do so, since Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan joining the room knocks Powlus down to the fifth quarterback on the depth chart, though perhaps fourth among those healthy.

At most, Powlus will have scout team duties.

DOWN THE ROAD
The cynical view of pulling in a staffer’s son (former Irish quarterback Ron Powlus, a multi-year starter in the 1990s, works as an associate athletic director at Notre Dame) when the NCAA gives a pass on scholarship maximums will be tested in years to come. If Powlus hangs around, then that view will be rendered as inaccurate as it is pessimistic.

If Powlus transfers to a mid-tier MAC school, though, then this could end up a win-win. Notre Dame gets depth and maturity in the program, and Powlus has a chance to develop to continue his playing career.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 91 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, freshman receiver, four-star prospect out of Georgia
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 55 Kahanu Kia, freshman linebacker, Hawaiian, LDS member
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 47 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 32 Prince Kollie, freshman linebacker, Butkus Award winner
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 29 Khari Gee, freshman safety, former LSU commit
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back
No. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back, coming off an offseason with a smirch
No. 20 Justin Walters, early-enrolled freshman safety and likely early special teams contributor
No. 20 JoJo Johnson, freshman cornerback, former Cincinnati commit
No. 19 Jay Bramblett, junior punter
No. 19 Justin Ademilola, senior defensive end
No. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr., senior receiver, team favorite
No. 18 Nana Osafo-Mensah, junior defensive end, coming back from a knee injury
No. 18 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 17 Jack Coan, graduate quarterback, Wisconsin transfer
No. 17 Jordan Botelho, sophomore defensive end, full-speed at all times
No. 16 Deion Colzie, incoming freshman receiver with both speed and leaping height
No. 16 KJ Wallace, junior safety, possible starting nickel back
No. 15 Ryan Barnes, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 14 Kyle Hamilton, junior safety, preseason All-American, top 2022 draft prospect
No. 13 Paul Moala, senior linebacker coming off an Achilles injury
No. 13 Lawrence Keys, senior receiver
No. 12 Tyler Buchner, early-enrolled freshman quarterback, former four-star recruit
No. 12 DJ Brown, senior safety mired in a starting competition

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