Get to know the class of 2022 prospects committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in this feature from BlueandGold.com.
We have provided background info on each of the commits below (in chronological order from the newest pledge to the oldest), and will continue to update this article each time Notre Dame lands a new commitment.
Commitment Date: June 26, 2021
Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High class of 2022 offensive linemanAshton Craig participated in Notre Dame’s prospect camp June 15. Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and offensive line coach Jeff Quinn had a close eye on the 6-5, 275-pounder. They were impressed with Craig and offered him a scholarship one week later. Craig officially visited Notre Dame during the weekend of June 25-27 and announced his decision to pick the Irish will on campus for his official.
Boston College, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Duke, Iowa State and Wake Forest also offered him scholarship. He held a handful of non-Power Five offers as well, including Ivy League schools. Notre Dame is recruiting Craig as an interior offensive lineman and will likely play center for the Irish.
Commitment Date: June 19, 2021
Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany linebacker Niuafe “Junior” Tuihalamaka originally pledged to USC in February 2020, but backed off his commitment in January 2021. He received an offer from the Fighting Irish two days before his decision to open things back up, and Notre Dame jumped to the top of his board.
He announced his commitment June 19 — his father’s birthday — over Texas, Stanford, USC and many others. It helped the Fighting Irish that the coach who recruited Te’o was Polian, who took weekly trips out to Hawaii to recruit Te’o — a five-star prospect in the 2009 class and 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist — to Notre Dame, and his efforts were rewarded.
Commitment Date: June 4, 2021
When Notre Dame became Pittsburgh Central Catholic defensive tackle Donovan Hinish‘s first scholarship offer back in November of 2020, it seemed pretty clear that if the Fighting Irish staff wanted the younger brother of current defensive lineman Kurt Hinish on its roster, then that’s where he’d end up. And lo and behold, Hinish pledged to the Irish during the first week of June, despite reportedly setting up a visit to Pittsburgh at the end of the month (a visit he will no longer take).
Hinish was named to the 2020 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette WPIAL all-conference class 6A first-team defense and is a 2020 Pennsylvania coaches class 6A second-team defensive tackle. MaxPreps also lists Hinish on its 2020 all-state second team defense.
Commitment Date: May 8, 2021
Atlanta Westminster tight end Holden Staes originally committed to Penn State last August but backed off of his pledge in February. Notre Dame offered the four-star talent a few days later and jumped to the top of his recruitment. He also considered the likes of LSU and Texas following his decommitment, but after a self-guided tour of Notre Dame in March, he knew where he wanted to be. He announced his commitment decision May 8.
Staes had his season cut short due to a minor injury and played in just six games, but before that, he totaled 14 receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 23 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and one interception playing defense for Westminster. He had eight receptions for 214 yards and two touchdowns for his team that rarely threw the ball during his sophomore campaign. He held right around 30 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas, USC and Wisconsin.
Commitment Date: May 2, 2021
When Notre Dame offered West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley tight end Eli Raridon, it seemed inevitable that he’d end up in the Irish’s recruiting class. Raridon has strong Notre Dame connections, as his father, Scott Jr., was an offensive lineman for the Irish from 2002-06, and his grandfather, Scott Sr., was a strength coach for the Irish under Lou Holtz in the late 80s. Iowa, Iowa State and Tennessee made it interesting, as he set up June official visit dates with all three, but he won’t be taking those trips with his Notre Dame commitment locked in.
Rivals ranks Raridon as the No. 5 player in Iowa and the No. 18 tight end nationally. During his junior season, Raridon caught 22 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Raridon also held offers from Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Virginia and West Virginia.
Commitment Date: April, 9, 2021
Notre Dame’s pursuit of Rabun Gap (Ga.) Nacoochee defensive end Darren Agu came together very quickly. The Fighting Irish offered the impressive prospect on April 1 – which Agu thought was a joke at first as he was in disbelief – and the following day, he called Notre Dame to inform them that he wanted to commit. Before announcing his decision publicly, Agu took a week to inform about 10 other coaching staffs that he wouldn’t be joining their respective programs, which is always a classy thing to do.
Agu was born in Ireland and moved to England when he was very young. He moved to the United States last August to attend Rabun Gap (Ga.) Nacoochee, a boarding school in North Georgia with many other international recruits. Last fall was Agu’s first season of playing 11-man football. During seven games as a junior in 2020, Agu caught 13 passes for 218 yards and five touchdowns. In limited reps on defense, Agu recorded 11 tackles, one tackle for loss, three sacks and one fumble recovery. Two games of Agu’s junior season are not included in his stats.
Commitment Date: March 17, 2021
It came down to Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin for Traverse City (Mich.) Central linebacker Joshua Burnham when he announced his decision on March 17 in front of friends, family and reporters while snow was falling. Burnham took a self-guided visit a couple weeks before he announced his decision, and it was the favorite campus he had stepped foot on.
Burnham was named to The Detroit Free Press 2020 football Dream Team, which is one of the highest honors in the state of Michigan. He recorded 61 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception. He played quarterback for the Trojans and accounted for 1,953 yards and 30 touchdowns and is also a member of the 2020 Michigan Division 1-2 All-State football team.
Commitment Date: March 14, 2021
Notre Dame kicked off its 2022 defensive back class with four-star cornerback Jaden Mickey from Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Mickey narrowed down his recruitment to California, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Oregon before choosing the Fighting Irish. He pledged to the Irish about a month after he received an offer from Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Polian.
Rivals ranks him as a four-star prospect, the No. 20 player in California and the nation’s No. 35 cornerback. During his sophomore season in 2019, Mickey posted 31 tackles, one tackle for loss, six interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and five pass deflections. California did not have fall sports in 2020, but Mickey will have a shortened junior season this spring.
Commitment Date: March 10, 2021
Ponchatoula (La.) High wide receiver Amorion Walker’s commitment to Notre Dame came out of left field, as he had not hinted that a decision was coming, nor had he been to campus yet. But Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and wide receivers coach Del Alexander did a great job of presenting Notre Dame to Walker, who was happy to become the first receiver pledge of the cycle.
Walker registered 25 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns during his sophomore season. In three games as a junior, Walker caught eight passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Commitment Date: March 4, 2021
Notre Dame’s long search for a quarterback in the 2022 class ended in early March when Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic’s Steve Angeli made the call to Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and head coach Brian Kelly to commit. When Rees offered Angeli in August of 2020, it seemed likely that the 6-3, 215-pounder would end up as the Irish’s signal caller in the class. It took some time as the staff evaluated Angeli’s and others’ senior films, but the four-star player is fired up and locked in with this Notre Dame pledge.
New Jersey had a shortened season in 2020, and Bergen Catholic was only able to play six games. Angeli completed 68 of 115 throws (59.1 percent) for 919 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He also added three rushing scores to lead the Crusaders to the No. 1 ranking in New Jersey per MaxPreps. Angeli was selected by New Jersey coaches to the 2020 Super Football Conference United Red first-team offense.
Rivals ranks Angeli as a four-star prospect, the No. 5 player in New Jersey and the No. 13 pro-style quarterback in the country.
Commitment Date: Feb. 21, 2021
Denison (Texas) High class of 2022 running back Jadarian Price earned an offer from Notre Dame during a conversation with special teams coordinator Brian Polian on Jan. 26, and about three and a half weeks later, the four-star player announced that he had committed to the Fighting Irish. He built a strong connection with Polian, running backs coach Lance Taylor and the staff in a short amount of time, and what he learned about the combination of the Notre Dame’s academic and football prowess put the Irish over the top.
Price has been extremely productive at the Texas 5A level — the second highest classification — rushing for 3,187 yards and 37 touchdowns on 513 carries through three high school seasons. As a junior, Price carried the rock 174 times for 1,145 yards and 18 scores. He was named to the Texas District 7-5A first-team offense and Padilla Poll Class 5A, D-II second-team all-state offense for his efforts in 2020. Rivals ranks Price as the nation’s No. 230 overall prospect and No. 5 all-purpose back.
Commitment Date: Feb. 6, 2021
Chantilly (Va.) High defensive end Aiden Gobaira didn’t receive his first scholarship offer until April 10, 2020 (Virginia Tech), which was several months after the conclusion of his sophomore season. College coaches quickly started to notice Gobaira at that point despite the lack of a spring evaluation period and summer camp circuit. Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston offered Gobaira in May of 2020, and the Irish instantly became one of his top contenders.
Penn State picked up steam in Gobaira’s recruitment last September following a self-guided tour visit of State College, but Notre Dame was always near the top of his recruitment. The Irish took the lead in Gobaira’s recruitment in January as Elston and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman put the full court press on Gobaira. He took a self-guided tour of Notre Dame in early February and a couple of days later made his commitment.
Commitment Date: Jan. 18, 2021
Notre Dame offered St. Louis John Burroughs defensive end Tyson Ford back in April of 2020, and the Irish led most of the way of the recruitment. However, Oklahoma entered the recruitment and the Sooners pulled ahead of Notre Dame by the time the calendar flipped to 2021. Ford decided on Oklahoma but had a change of heart just three days before his Jan. 18 decision day and chose the Fighting Irish.
Ford also held offers from the likes of Arizona State, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and Washington. Rivals ranks Ford as the No. 2 player in Missouri, and the No.6 strong-side defensive end and No. 70 overall prospect nationally. Ford was named to the 2020 Missouri Football Coaches Association first-team all-state defense and was also named to the 2020 and 2019 Metro League football all-conference first-team defense. Ford is committed to playing in the Under Armour All-American Game in January 2022.
Commitment Date: Dec. 10, 2020
Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy offensive tackle Ty Chan added Notre Dame to his offer list in August of 2020, and it became quickly apparent that the Irish were going to be tough to beat. Boston College and Penn State gave the Irish a run for its money; he visited both programs and hasn’t been to South Bend yet. However, Chan pulled the trigger on a Notre Dame commitment in Dec. 10, 2020.
Chan also held offers from Boston College, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia and William & Mary. Rivals ranks Chan as the No. 2 player in Massachusetts, and the nation’s No. 30 offensive tackle and No. 209 overall prospect in the 2022 class. Chan has been invited to the 2022 All-American Bowl.
Commitment Date: Aug. 22, 2020
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Central Catholic linebacker Nolan Ziegler committed to Notre Dame just a couple weeks after earning an offer from the Fighting Irish. The 6-4, 205-pounder announced his pledge to Notre Dame Aug. 22, 2020 over the likes of Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Virginia Tech. Rivals ranks Ziegler as the nation’s No. 20 “athlete” and No. 9 player in the state of Michigan. He helped lead Central Catholic to back to-back Michigan state championships the past two seasons.
On his father’s side of the family, Ziegler’s great uncle, Fred Trosko Jr, was a backup quarterback for Notre Dame, and on his mother’s side, Tim Sullivan played linebacker for the Irish. Trosko and Sullivan played together at Notre Dame as well.
Commitment Date: July 25, 2020
Notre Dame’s first pledge of the 2022 class came from Zionsville (Ind.) High offensive lineman Joey Tanona on July 25, 2020. The All-American Bowl commit visited for Notre Dame’s junior day weekend Feb. 1, 2020, which was the last recruiting event the Irish held before the pandemic wiped out visits for the next year. Tanona grew up a big Notre Dame fan, making the decision pretty easy for him.
He also held offers from Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and others. Tanona was named to the 2020 Indiana MaxPreps All-State first-team offense. Rivals ranks Tanona as the nation’s No. 201 overall recruit, No. 6 offensive guard and No. 6 player in the Hoosier State.