COLUMN: Notre Dame QB Commit Steve Angeli’s Ceiling Is High
Ever since Notre Dame offered Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic class of 2022 quarterback Steve Angeli last August, there has been a lot of time for message board fodder — and many conversations have taken place about the 6-3, 215-pounder on BlueandGold.com’s Rockne's Roundtable forum.
The reviews have been mixed. Some love the prospect, while others think Angeli follows in the mold of quarterbacks at Notre Dame under Brian Kelly who are good but not quite “elite” enough to help the Irish win a major bowl or College Football Playoff matchup.
Will Angeli be a national championship-caliber quarterback? The answer is the same for the other three signal-callers Notre Dame offered (Drew Allar, Ty Simpson and Gavin Wimsatt). Who knows. There’s just no guarantee to what these high school juniors will be at the next level.
But the narrative that somehow Angeli is a “safe” or “easy” take for Notre Dame is senseless. If anything, he’s the most unproven quarterback of the quartet the Irish offered. He’s attempted 164 career passes at the high school level, while Allar probably attempted that many throws in a span of five games in his high school’s air raid offense.
And any narrative that Angeli doesn’t have big upside doesn’t make sense either. He has all the tools to be a top player at the next level — size, arm strength, superb mechanics, athleticism, mobility and the list goes on.
His stats are limited because he’s only played in 15 high school games and one half of a season as a starter due to Bergen Catholic playing only six games in 2020. He seemed to be running for his life for most of his junior season because protection constantly broke down, and he still had many “wow” moments in leading Bergen Catholic to being ranked as the No. 1 team in New Jersey by MaxPreps.
“He really has a great approach to the game,” Bergen Catholic head coach Vito Campanile said. “He works tirelessly at it. His off the field work — in the film room and on the white board — he just loves football. That’s huge. He’s developed himself into a coach on the field.
“He’ll actually do a lot of the install of what we’re implementing in the offense with the receivers, which I think is a really good quality for us. It allows us to do a lot more, as far as double calling plays and understanding protections. He’s really good at the RPO [run-pass option] game, too. He does a great job in a lot of different capacities. He has an open-door policy to do some things if he sees it. He’s done a really nice job with that, too.”
All of these points bring me to the conclusion that we’re only seeing just the beginning of Angeli’s talents. He is scratching the surface of showing how good of a natural thrower of the football he is.
I saw him live in September a couple weeks after watching Austin Westlake’s Cade Klubnik, a recent Clemson commitment, throw in a similar setting. And I left Bergen Catholic’s practice slightly more impressed with Angeli.
The purpose of this column isn’t to get Notre Dame fans excited about Angeli or toot his horn, but it is to get the notion that he’s a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect dismissed. It’s just not the case.
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