How long until the football program already known as “O-Line U” and “Tight End U” starts going by “Linebacker U”.
I’d say that with apologies to our friends at Nittany Lions Wire but my mother told me long ago that apologies are supposed to be sincere and mine certainly wouldn’t be.
In all seriousness though, few have even been in the conversation for linebacker production with Notre Dame the last decade, who is the only program to turn out three Butkus Award winners in that time.
The Irish also just welcomed 2021 High School Butkus Award winner Prince Kollie in their latest recruiting class while the 2022 class is absolutely loaded at the position.
Four-star linebackers Niuafe (Junior) Tuihalamaka, Joshua Burnham, and Nolan Ziegler had each already committed before the highest rated of them all (according to 247Sports), Jaylen Sneed, announced his decision to attend Notre Dame on Monday.
The Fighting Irish class is currently ranked behind only Ohio State according to 247Sports with linebackers obviously being its strength and a place they’d appear done recruiting for the class.
Here is a little on each of the four-headed monster Notre Dame is set to bring in with the 2022 class:
LB - Nolan Ziegler
Nolan Ziegler was an extremely early commitment to the 2022 class for Notre Dame as the Grand Rapids (Catholic Central), Michigan product was originally listed as an athlete in his recruiting breakdowns before being moved to linebacker. Ziegler was the first of two star linebackers the Irish were able to get commitments from the Great Lake State. Ziegler Profile: 6-4, 210 pounds No. 313 overall, No. 35 LB, four-star (247Sports) Grand Rapids, Michigan
Joshua Burnham was at one time seen as an essential lock to land at Michigan but as Jerome Bettis once said (we think it was him, anyway), "the best high school football players in Michigan go to Notre Dame". Burnham is one of the best not just Michigan, but the nation has to offer in 2022 as the likes of Alabama were even in pursuit of his talents. He's not only a monster at 6-4, 225 pounds, but moves well enough to have played quarterback, running back, and basketball as well. Burnham Profile: 6-4, 225 pounds No. 112 overall, No. 12 linebacker, four-star (247Sports) Traverse City, Michigan
Niuafe Tuihalamaka was a one-time USC commitment that changed his mind and eventually gave his word to Notre Dame in mid-June. One of the top inside linebackers in the 2022 recruiting class, Tuihalamaka fits the massive build Marcus Freeman seems to be looking for in his inside linebackers. His speed might not make him fantastic in terms in pass coverage but his downhill ability should mean for an elite level playing the run. Tuihalamaka Profile: 6-2, 235 pounds No. 107 overall, No. 11 linebacker, four-star (247Sports) Mission Hills, California
Jaylen Sneed played his junior year as more of a defensive end than linebacker and has elite playmaking ability and appears next to impossible to block, especially considering how hard he plays. One interesting thing about Sneed is that he received offers from powerhouses like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma, and plenty of others, but one program that did not offer him was his home-state Clemson. Prized linebacker recruits with the initials "J. S" have done decent under the golden dome. Sneed Profile: 6-2, 210 pounds No. 70 overall, No. 8 linebacker, four-star (247Sports) Hilton Head Island, South Carolina