Most years, Notre Dame’s first recruit to commit to a class is an offensive lineman. If not the first, an offensive lineman or two joins the class early on, maybe literal years before they can officially sign with the Irish. But in the recruiting class of 2023, Notre Dame needed to wait a bit before landing a pledge from an offensive lineman.
That wait ended Monday evening with a commitment from rivals.com four-star tackle Sam Pendleton (Ronald Reagan High School; Pfafftown, N.C.). The No. 21 offensive tackle in the class, per rivals.com, and the No. 238 overall recruit in the class, Pendleton chose the Irish over offers from Michigan, Florida and North Carolina State, along with Clemson.
The 10th commit in Notre Dame’s class, he visited South Bend in early April.
At 6-foot-5 and 293 pounds, Pendleton already has size that will translate well at the next level. Maybe he needs to add a bit of muscle and 15-20 pounds, but that work is far less than many high school linemen face at this point in their careers.
I really enjoyed my time up in South Bend over the weekend! Thanks to all the coaches and staff for their hospitality. Go Irish ☘️!! @CoachHiestand @CoachHiestand @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/X35N6vKrzQ
— Sam Pendleton (@SamPendleton7) April 11, 2022
He has power in his arms, helping compensate for adequate footwork. Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand will focus on that footwork as soon as Pendleton is in his charge. Pendleton does keep his feet moving through an entire play, though, a key for many young linemen.
In viewing his film, it needs to be acknowledged, he is clearly playing inferior talent on his school’s schedule.
THE USUAL TIMING
Notre Dame’s first and third commits in the class of 2022 were both offensive linemen, Joey Tanona committing in July of 2020 when he could not sign with the Irish until December of 2021. Ty Chan followed Tanona in December of 2020.
In the class of 2021, Blake Fisher was the first commit, doing so in June of 2019.
Three cycles ago fit a similar timeline as the currently-building class, as did the class of 2019, although the entire class of 2019 grew slowly. Notre Dame had only three commitments heading into April, but then the fourth pledge came from John Olmstead, and two more linemen joined the group by May 1.