Rivals100 LB Jaylen Sneed Commits To Notre Dame, Details His Decision
Notre Dame landed a commitment from a key piece to its 2022 class on Monday evening.
Hilton Head (S.C.) High outside linebacker Jaylen Sneed announced his pledge to the Fighting Irish, picking Notre Dame over fellow finalist Oregon.
“Notre Dame is the choice for me because of the family atmosphere, the coaching staff and how I felt when I stepped on campus,” Sneed told BlueandGold.com about his decision. “It feels like home and it’s where I want to be. It was exactly how they described it; it’s perfect.”
Sneed took an official visit to Oregon June 4-6, and the Ducks gave him something to think about. His Notre Dame visit was June 14-16, during which he informed Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and head coach Brian Kelly that he wanted to commit. He held off on announcing his decision until July 12.
His mom had tears of joy when he informed her that he wanted to commit to the Fighting Irish.
“We were sitting in the office talking and then I took my mom aside and said, ‘I want to do this now.’ So, I told Coach Freeman, and then we went in Coach Brian Kelly’s office and told him too,” Sneed said. “They were very happy and were hyped about it.
“Coach Kelly said, ‘Now it’s time to get to work.’”
Sneed can’t wait to get to work, too. He plans to enroll early at Notre Dame in January 2022 and compete in next year’s spring practices.
“My excitement level is definitely a 10 out of 10,” he said. “I can finally wear all of my Notre Dame stuff without people asking me all of the time if I’m going there. Now I can tell them, ‘Yes, I am going to the University of Notre Dame.’”
It’s well documented that Sneed has a very close relationship with Freeman. It got kick-started because his high school head coach, BJ Payne, has a relationship with Freeman that goes back more than 15 years. The Irish offered Sneed in January, and Freeman instantly clicked with Sneed.
“He definitely was one of the biggest factors in me committing to Notre Dame,” Sneed said. “He recruited me every day, and we talked on the phone at least two or three times every week. We still talk a lot. He’s a great coach, and we have a great relationship.”
Sneed has no plans on entertaining other suitors now that he’s given his public commitment to Notre Dame.
“My recruitment is definitely shut down,” he said.
Sneed has played 18 career varsity games, and has totaled 136 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 35 quarterback hits, seven passes broken up, five forced fumbles, one interception and four fumble recoveries.
In just three games during a shortened junior season in 2020, Sneed had 28 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, 14 quarterback hits, one pass broken up, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named to the All-Region 7AAAA team.
“I’m extremely proud of Jaylen for navigating through the crazy world of recruiting and finding the right fit for him as a player, student and person,” Payne said. “He truly researched the right fits for him all aspects since day one. He is a very determined young man with very high goals, and I can’t wait to see him go after and accomplish those goals at Notre Dame.”
Rivals ranks Sneed as the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina, and the No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 46 overall player nationally. His 6.0 Rivals recruit ranking has him on the cusp of five-star status.
He was named linebacker MVP at the Atlanta regional Rivals camp April 25 and the Rivals Five-Star Challenge June 17.
Per Rivals, Sneed held 34 offers in total, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and USC.
Notre Dame now has four linebacker commits and all rank as four-star players per Rivals. The Irish have Sneed, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany’s Niuafe Tuihalamaka, Traverse City (Mich.) Central’s Joshua Burnham and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central’s Nolan Ziegler committed at linebacker.
“I really like the Will spot,” Sneed said. “It’s the outside linebacker position to the boundary. That’s where I think I’ll thrive at.”
Sneed is committed to playing in the 2022 Under Armour All-American Game.
He also played for the Hilton Head basketball team that reached the South Carolina 4A state championship game but fell 52-50 to Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe. Sneed averaged 6.5 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and 0.9 steals per game.
Sneed plans to study business or sports medicine at Notre Dame.
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