Notre Dame signed a total of five offensive linemen on Wednesday, four of which are consensus four-star prospects, the fifth one of two in-state products. They all stand at least 6-foot-5, and they all probably need to put on some weight, though that should be expected of nearly any high schooler joining a unit with a starting five averaging 303.4 pounds when it lines up against No. 9 Oklahoma State (11-2) on New Year’s Day in the Fiesta Bowl. Even the five Irish backups average 303.8 pounds.
Those signees have so much in common, and their short-term and long-term depth chart outlooks are obviously so similar, let’s group them together in this early signing period finale. It is fitting to do so, something they would not even take offense to, given Notre Dame’s current offensive line group approached name, image and likeness deals as a unit, walk-ons included.
Lawrence Academy; Groton, Mass.
Measurements: 6-foot-6, 285 pounds.
Accolades: The consensus four-star is ranked as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the class and No. 111 player overall, per rivals.com. Chan will play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.
Other notable offers: Simply given his Massachusetts home, Boston College needed to pursue Chan. For that matter, so did Penn State and Syracuse. Michigan and Nebraska also chased him from the Midwest, but Chan’s commitment just before last year’s early signing period kept any of those from becoming serious contenders.
St. Mary’s Springs High School; Fond du Lac, Wis.
Measurements: 6-foot-6, 280 pounds.
Accolades: Rivals.com ranks Schrauth, a consensus four-star prospect, as the No. 3 guard in the class of 2022 and the No. 125 player overall. He will play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 8.
Other notable offers: Schrauth’s recruitment yo-yoed between Notre Dame and Wisconsin all summer and fall, finally reaching its conclusion on Friday. He had been rumored close to committing to one or the other at many points throughout the last few months.
Zionsville High School; Ind.
Measurements: 6-foot-5, 290 pounds.
Accolades: The consensus four-star is ranked as the No. 8 offensive guard in the class and No. 172 player overall, per rivals.com. Tanona will play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 8.
Other notable offers: Tanona was the first commit in this Irish class, despite holding offers from the biggest names in the Big Ten, LSU and Arizona State.
Wayne High School; Huber Heights, Ohio
Measurements: 6-foot-6, 265 pounds.
Accolades: The consensus four-star is rivals’ No. 21 tackle in the class of 2022 and the No. 196 overall prospect, not to mention the No. 9 recruit in the state of Ohio. He will also play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 8, as well as the Polynesian Bowl on Jan. 22.
Other notable offers: Recruiting surprises are rarer and rarer, but Wagner surprised many when he committed to Notre Dame last month rather than Kentucky, where his brother is a graduate assistant. Wagner also considered Penn State and Ohio State. In the end, he joins a team led by products of his own high school: Both Irish head coach Marcus Freeman and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens graduated from Wayne High School.
Lawrenceburg High School; Ind.
Measurements: 6-foot-5, 275 pounds.
Accolades: The consensus three-star prospect is the No. 63 tackle in the class, per rivals.com.
Other notable offers: Craig received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame after working out an on-campus camp, a wrinkle that has worked out well for the Irish in recent years. Craig was also chased by Nebraska, Michigan and Cincinnati, which is within miles of his hometown.
Projected positions: It is often said Notre Dame recruits all offensive linemen as tackles and then figures things out later on, and that looks to be vaguely the case once again, simply given the raw size of these five commitments. But more specifically …
Chan’s and Wagner’s basketball backgrounds should keep them at tackle. The Irish have enjoyed great success, perhaps most notably with Ronnie Stanley, relying on basketball footwork along the edge.
Tanona and Schrauth are respected maulers in the run game, suggesting they end up at guard down the line, and Craig is widely projected as a center, in part due to some natural quickness
Quick takes: If Notre Dame was not so deep along its offensive line already, and that is without even knowing if Jarrett Patterson and/or Josh Lugg will return for one more season in 2022, four of these five could crack the two-deep in 2022. Wagner probably needs to add too much weight to be that kind of option immediately, though.
If Chan is considered the most ready of the group, let it be pointed out he still needs to develop — consider the existences of Blake Fisher and Joe Alt as freshman starters at tackle to be the exceptions that prove the rule. Chan’s size and length make him an ideal starter down the road. He has lower-body power already, but perhaps not the upper-body discipline needed to enter the Notre Dame two-deep in the next 12 months.
Short-term roster outlook: Fisher and Alt have changed this conversation for the next two years. They should start at the tackle positions, which at which can be determined in the spring, through the 2023 season. With juniors Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker both getting starting chances in 2021, as well, before injuries cleared the way for Alt, the Irish have plenty of depth for the foreseeable future.
At guard, the possibility of Lugg returning and moving inside, with current junior Andrew Kristofic establishing himself as a long-term starter at guard during the second half of this season and current freshman Rocco Spindler waiting in the wings, further depth is already clearly apparent.
Long-term depth chart impact: But the day will come for the tackles and guards alike, as well as Schrauth at center. Anyone expecting both Fisher and Alt to be on Notre Dame’s roster in 2024 is underestimating their clear potential. That would be only Chan’s or Wagner’s junior season.
Lugg may not even return in 2022.
And furthermore, as evidenced by the rash of injuries the Irish endured at left tackle this season, depth is necessary up front.
EARLY SIGNING PERIOD COVERAGE
Consensus four-star defensive end Aiden Gobaira
Consensus four-star safety Nolan Ziegler
Consensus three-star quarterback Steve Angeli
Consensus three-star defensive tackle Donovan Hinish, Kurt’s brother
Consensus four-star linebackers Jaylen Sneed and Joshua Burnham
Punter Bryce McFerson, former Wake Forest commit
Consensus four-star running back Jadarian Price
Tight ends Eli Raridon and Holden Staes
Consensus four-star defensive end Tyson Ford, the first commit to Marcus Freeman back in January
Cornerbacks Benjamin Morrison and Jayden Bellamy
Consensus four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka, former USC commit
Consensus four-star receiver Tobias Merriweather, the only receiver in the class
Consensus four-star cornerback Jaden Mickey
Five offensive linemen complete Irish class of 2022, including quartet of four-stars