Notre Dame announced the signing of 24 outstanding prospects today, but the most high profile story of national letter of intent signing day was the apparent loss of 5-star safety, Peyton Bowen. Bowen flipped his over 11 month long commitment from the Irish to Oregon. When making his announcement he at first put on a ND hat and his Mother, who reportedly was pro ND, enthusiastically clapped. Seconds later however, Bowen switched hats to one with an “O” on it and stated “Go Ducks”, his mom then leaned her face into her hands.
Bowen had long been rumored to have a roving eye but most of the speculation had centered on Oklahoma, Oregon however made a late run and have, at least for the time being, secured Bowen’s services. It is likely that NIL money became a major factor in the final decision.
For their part, ND signed a top ten class of 24 including 20, 4-star athletes, the highest number ever to sign in South Bend. Marcus Freeman indirectly addressed the NIL issue during a press conference introducing the class, “the value of Notre Dame is going to stay with you for a very long time.” With those words Freeman seemed to deemphasize the economic value of NIL deals and emphasize the long term value of a Notre Dame degree. Freeman also made the point that this class has a combined average core GPA of 3.46, which, “speaks to the importance of academics within this group”.
Rated #9 overall by 247 Sports, Notre Dame’s 24 man class includes four top 100 prospects. The highest rated, at #49 is offensive tackle Charles Jagusah 6-6, 308 from Rock Island, IL. ND also inked four wide receivers in the class, a position of emphasis after the Irish mostly struck out on the position in the last two cycles.
Commitment and #96 overall prospect Drayk Bowen, 6-1, 235 from Merrillville, IN is the 2022 Butkus Award winner as the nations top high school linebacker. Bowen joins Manti Teo and Jaylon Smith as past Butkus winners who became ND signees. Late commitment, QB Kenny Minchey flipped from Pittsburgh in November to the Irish also signed his letter of intent. He is rated as the #13 QB prospect in the nation.
The top five classes among all schools according to 247 are, (from 1-5) Alabama, Georgia and Miami, Texas and Ohio State. Quarterback Arch Manning, the #1 rated overall recruit, signed with Texas.
Notre Dame also landed wide receiver Caleb Smith from the transfer portal today. The 6-2, 225 Smith comes in as a graduate and had 37 catches for 674 yards and three TDs at Virginia Tech last season.