Notre Dame’s Football Recruiting First Order
Saturday’s verbal commitment from Zionsville (Ind.) High offensive lineman Joey Tanona is the first for Notre Dame in the 2022 recruiting cycle.
It also occurred prior to his junior year in high school, never mind senior campaign. He is the sixth consecutive initial commit to do this before taking a snap as a junior, but that’s how much the recruiting calendar has been accelerated in the past decade.
Here is a synopsis of each prospect who broke the recruiting ice for Notre Dame in a new cycle.
2021: Quarterback Tyler Buchner — March 18, 2019
The top-50 to top-100 prospect from California became the third quarterback in four years to be the initial verbal pledge to a Fighting Irish class. With California high school football shut down until at least December, Buchner will have a decision to make on whether to enroll early in January.
2020: Quarterback Drew Pyne — April 16, 2018
Not only was he the first commit for 2020, but the Connecticut native also became the first Irish early enrollee in January at quarterback since Malik Zaire in 2013. Pyne will vie for the No. 2 role this year with sophomore Brendon Clark.
2019: Defensive Tackle Jacob Lacey — July 29, 2017
An early enrollee in January 2019, the product from Kentucky was one of three freshman regulars in the 22-man class, joining punter Jay Bramblett and safety Kyle Hamilton. He played 247 snaps at nose tackle while helping take some of the load off then junior Kurt Hinish (433 snaps).
2018: Quarterback Phil Jurkovec — May 16, 2016
Also an all-state basketball player in Pennsylvania, the top-100 prospect was projected as Notre Dame’s next big thing at quarterback, but opted to transfer to Boston College this January after seeing limited mop-up duty his first two seasons.
2017: Tight End Brock Wright — June 27, 2015
The Lone Star State native and current senior was the highest-ranked prospect in the class at No. 44 nationally by Rivals. He has played in the shadow of classmate Cole Kmet, who was the third to commit in this class and was a second-round NFL selection this spring as a junior, but was prepping for a bigger role this fall.
2016: Offensive Lineman Tommy Kraemer — Oct. 5, 2014
Notre Dame’s lone unanimous top-100 prospect in this class by each of the then four major recruiting outlets. From Ohio, the former tackle and now right guard is in line to start a fourth consecutive season, but a first time to answer the bell in every game during the campaign.
2015: Defensive Tackle Jerry Tillery — June 23, 2013
Originally recruited as a left tackle on offense, there was also a popular notion that the coveted Louisiana prospect would flip to in-state LSU. He stayed true to his word, enrolling January 2015, becoming a co-starter at nose tackle as a freshman and eventually the first Fighting Irish defensive lineman drafted in the first round in 22 years.
2014: Linebacker Greer Martini — July 4, 2012
From North Carolina, the highly versatile figure earned a captaincy as a senior and finished his career with 190 tackles, 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and five sacks.
2013: Offensive Lineman Steve Elmer — Sept. 18, 2011
The brilliant student made the Dean’s List in his first semester as an early enrollee in January and was a rare freshman starter for several games along the offensive line. Also a starter in 2014 and 2015, he graduated early and opted not to return his senior year while pursuing a professional career beyond football.
2012: Cornerback Tee Shepard — March 3, 2011
The top-100 prospect from Fresno, Calif., enrolled in January, but had to leave school two months later because of an issue with a standardized test score. He enrolled at a junior college before transferring to Ole Miss, but a hearing disability ended his football days.
2011: Defensive Lineman Brad Carrico — March 21, 2010
Moved to offensive line during his first year, but his football career ended prior to his sophomore season because of chronic foot problems. His scholarship was transferred to a medical hardship.