A visit to Penn State last weekend left Ty Chan certain that he wants to play for Notre Dame.
The Irish landed a verbal commitment from the Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy product on Thursday. To Chan, a four-star offensive tackle in the 2022 recruiting class, no schools he visited felt like Notre Dame.
And Chan came to that conclusion without having ever visited South Bend.
“What really separated it for me,” Chan said, “was the (academics) and the connection I already made with (Irish offensive line) coach (Jeff) Quinn over the phone. Those two things together really made me want to be a part of that family. The big thing for me was envisioning myself being a part of it, the blue and gold.”
Quinn offered Chan a scholarship on Aug. 19. Then Chan emerged as a top offensive line target for the Irish this cycle. Penn State, Michigan and Boston College also were among schools pursuing him.
Chan said he vividly remembers talking with Quinn for the first time. They bonded about how they are both blue-collar people. Their weekly conversations made an impact on Chan, even without a visit.
“That first conversation hooked me,” Chan said. “He was the first guy who I talked to at the time who made me have a personal connection with him right away. We talked individually as people really before getting down to football, the school and everything. We built a friendship before anything started.”
Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network, evaluated Chan at his school a few months ago. He considers Chan to be the most athletic offensive tackle in the 2022 class and compared him to former Notre Dame target and current Wisconsin commit Nolan Rucci. He’s a five-star offensive tackle in the 2021 class.
With his basketball background, Chan flashes quick feet for his size (6-foot-6, 275 pounds).
“I think he could be a No. 1 NFL Draft choice someday,” Lemming said. “He’s got all the tools to become like Ronnie Stanley. He’s 6-6, 275, but he looks thin. When Notre Dame’s weight coach gets ahold of this kid, he’ll be 320 and still running well. He’s got great feet. He’s got strong, violent hands.
"He’s a natural left tackle. He can play anywhere on the line, but he would have the natural ability to be a left tackle.”
247Sports and Rivals now rank the four-player Irish class No. 7 nationally. Chan joins fellow 2022 commits in linebacker Nolan Ziegler, offensive lineman Joey Tanona and tight end Jack Nickel.
Rivals ranks Chan as its No. 27 offensive tackle and No. 189 overall player in the 2022 class, while 247Sports pegs him No. 22 at the position and No. 229 overall.
“He’s close to being a five-star player,” Lemming said. “Probably the only reason why you don’t give him five stars is because the competition level is not great. But of all the offensive lineman I saw last year, he’s definitely top 10 for 2022 and maybe even top five.”
In his first recruiting class as Notre Dame’s offensive line coach, Quinn secured a quartet of four-star offensive linemen: Zeke Correll, Andrew Kristofic, Quinn Carroll and John Olmstead. In 2020, he helped the Irish sign two four-star offensive linemen in Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker.
Offensive linemen Blake Fisher, Rocco Spindler, Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan and Joe Alt are expected to make their verbal commitments to Notre Dame official during the three-day early signing period next week (Dec. 16-18).
Correll, Carroll, Carmody and Baker all ranked among the top 250 overall players in their recruiting classes on 247Sports and Rivals. Fisher and Spindler are expected to rank among the top 100 overall in the 2021 class. Chan and Tanona rank among the top 250 overall in the 2022 class.
In 2022, Notre Dame looks to be the favorite to receive pledges from two other four-star offensive linemen: Las Vegas Bishop Gorman’s Jake Taylor and Fond Du Lac (Wis.) St. Mary’s Springs’ Billy Schrauth.
“It seems like great group after great group. He’s recruiting close to five-star type guys,” Lemming said. “Notre Dame is going to have a great offensive line for the future with the way they are recruiting. They could be perennial Joe Moore Award contenders.”
The last time the Irish claimed the Joe Moore Award came in 2017. They could win the top offensive line prize again this season. Notre Dame ranks as the No. 1 offensive line in the country, per Pro Football Focus.
Adding recruits like Chan figures to only help the Irish sustain that success.
“I’m just very grateful and excited to go to school for free,” Chan said. “I would never be less grateful than I am right now. A lot of people from where I’m from probably don’t have the same opportunities as me.
“I really want to make sure I make use of this and obviously have a great football career in the process if I’m able to do so. But also be able to have a degree and a good job after football to set up my family.”