RECRUITING

Long snapper Alex Peitsch commits to Notre Dame

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Alex Peitsch took a risk after his freshman year of high school football.

He served as the center and long snapper for Marriottsville (Md.) Marriotts Ridge’s junior varsity squad. Peitsch transferred to Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High, which needed a long snapper.

Peitsch’s decision paid off in the long run. Peitsch ranks as the nation’s best long snapper, per Kohl's Kicking Camps. 

And now he’s committed to Notre Dame.

Irish special teams coordinator Brian Polian offered Peitsch a scholarship last week. He verbally committed Monday and made the news official Wednesday via Twitter. The Irish now have eight commits in their 2020 class.

“I just thought, ‘You know what? Why not?’ That was kind of my mentality,” Peitsch said of the transfer. “I’ll regret it if I don’t. I went up there and things really worked out.”

Switching schools required Peitsch to ditch his center duties. Peitsch knew his size limitations (now 6-foot-2, 223 pounds) would take him only so far.

But as a long snapper? Peitsch had an opportunity if he continued to work. He joined Kohl's, which offers training for specialists, prior to his freshman season.

“My dad kind of got me into it,” Peitsch said about long snapping. “He was like, ‘Hey man, you could go far with this.’ I stayed diligent with it and started going to Kohl’s camps. I got more refined and went along with the grind.”

The evaluation period began last Monday, allowing college coaches to visit schools and watch recruits work out and practice. Polian watched Peitsch practice on April 17 and offered him a scholarship afterward.

Polian reached out to Peitsch in December and asked him to visit. Peitsch took an unofficial visit in February, which prompted Polian to trek to his school last week. The offer cemented Peitsch’s decision.

“There were three things I really focused on when it came to a school,” Peitsch said. “It was a scholarship, academics and football. When it came to Notre Dame, it was a top three school last year. Great academic school and they offered me a scholarship. What else could I ask for? That’s kind of where I came from.”

Casey Casper joined Kohl’s in 2010 and serves as their primary long snapping coach and ranker. Casper considers Peitsch the best high school long snapper that has trained with him.  

“He’s the No. 1 long snapper because of his ability to stay consistent with his accuracy,” Casper said. “He throws a clean ball all the time. But he’s also a great athlete. He has a great frame, good height, good weight, very athletic, he’s strong, he’s fast.

“But he also doesn’t get rattled from snap to snap. He is just on point at all times.”

Not all universities offer scholarships to specialists. Every starting long snapper in the Brian Kelly era garnered an ND scholarship. Jordan Cowart signed with the Irish the year before Kelly arrived in 2009.

Scott Daly then took the reigns after signing to ND’s 2012 class. John Shannon (2016 class) redshirted as a freshman during Daly’s senior season. He’s been ND’s starting long snapper since 2017.

Though he hopes to enroll early in January, Peitsch will likely join the Irish in June of 2020. Shannon could play for the Irish through the 2020 season. That gives Peitsch an opportunity to start for at least three seasons, or four if he redshirts.

“Alex has been nothing short of dominant at every camp he’s attended,” Casper said. “He’s extremely coachable. He’s a perfectionist. He truly wants to be the best that he can be in every aspect of long snapping.

“I absolutely see him having a chance at the NFL and being able to do it for a long time.”

Committed! #FightingIrishpic.twitter.com/IkOv8dCOLb

— Alex Peitsch (@AlexPeitsch) April 24, 2019

Washington (D.C.) St. John's College High's Alex Peitsch, a 2020 long snapper, committed to Notre Dame on April 24, 2019.