Which Notre Dame commits won't play high school football this fall?
Don’t expect Tyler Buchner to move to Idaho.
Notre Dame’s prized quarterback commit won’t be headed to any other state permitting high school football this fall either. He’s still enrolled at La Mesa (Calif.) Helix and will graduate a semester early before coming to South Bend in January. The California Interscholastic Federation pushed back its high school football season to January.
Buchner needed the extra experience. An impressive schedule figured to be a reason why he transferred to Helix this offseason. He faced much weaker competition in three years at La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop’s School. He has also only started 13 full varsity games. Buchner served as a backup in year one and suffered a torn ACL in his left knee four games into his sophomore year.
A spontaneous move out of state, though, would have likely meant a logistics nightmare for Buchner’s family. Finding a place to live and moving during a pandemic on little notice were among challenges. Buchner also wants to take certain Advanced Placement (AP) courses that some schools don’t offer. That’s another reason why he chose Helix.
The hypotheticals had to be tempting. And there were a handful of other Irish verbal commits confronted with similar questions. Of Notre Dame’s 21 pledges in its 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes, nine are slated to not play football this fall. Four of those nine plan to enroll at Notre Dame in January: Buchner, offensive lineman Rocco Spindler, cornerback Ryan Barnes and safety Justin Walters.
There are still 12 pledges scheduled to play football this fall. Which commits will play and won’t play is laid out below, along with details about their situations. These plans are subject to change.
Who won’t play?
California: La Mesa Helix quarterback Tyler Buchner, Encino Crespi Carmelite cornerback Chance Tucker, Los Gatos defensive end Will Schweitzer.
• Buchner: His next organized football game will be at Notre Dame. He will spend this fall working with a quarterback coach.
• Tucker: California high school teams plan to start their football seasons in January, so Tucker will play before arriving at Notre Dame in June.
• Schweitzer: Whether Schweitzer will enroll at Notre Dame in January remains to be seen. Schweitzer told the Tribune he’s capable of graduating early but has not decided if he’s going that route.
Illinois: Bolingbrook safety Justin Walters, Chicago Marist offensive lineman Pat Coogan.
• Walters: Illinois will not start its high school football season until the spring. Walters plans to come to Notre Dame in January.
• Coogan: Chicago Marist has yet to release its amended football schedule for the spring. Coogan will play his final season before arriving at Notre Dame in June.
Michigan: Clarkston offensive lineman Rocco Spindler, Grand Rapids Catholic Central linebacker Nolan Ziegler (2022).
•Spindler: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy looked to add Spindler to its stacked roster. But he turned down the football powerhouse, chose to stay at Clarkston and will enroll early at Notre Dame.
Maryland: Gaithersburg Quince Orchard cornerback Ryan Barnes. Maryland moved high school football to the spring. Barnes will be without that year of experience when he comes to Notre Dame as a mid-year enrollee.
Minnesota: Fridley Totino-Grace offensive tackle Joe Alt. Minnesota moved football to the spring. Alt will be able to participate prior to coming to Notre Dame in June.
Who will play?
Ohio: Pickerington Central wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr., Wadsworth tight end Mitchell Evans. Members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association will each be eligible to make the playoffs after finishing their amended six-game seasons.
• Styles: His regular season starts on Aug. 30 against Pickerington North and ends on Oct. 1 with Reynoldsburg.
• Evans: His regular season starts on Aug. 28 with North Royalton and ends on Oct. 2 with Brecksville-Broadview.
Indiana: Avon offensive lineman Blake Fisher, Zionsville offensive lineman Joey Tanona (2022). Members of the Indiana High School Athletic Association started their football seasons on time over the weekend.
• Fisher: Avon opened its season with a 62-34 loss at Lawrence North on Friday. Fisher played well, but the Orioles struggled defensively.
• Tanona: Pike scored a touchdown in the final seconds to drop Zionsville and Tanona in a 26-24 thriller on Saturday.
Georgia: Hartwell Hart County tight end Cane Berrong, Alpharetta Milton tight end Jack Nickel (2022). Berrong and Nickel will play two weeks later than expected. Members of the Georgia High School Association had their football seasons postponed to Sept. 4.
Tennessee: Jonesborough David Crockett linebacker Prince Kollie. Members of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association started their football seasons on time over the weekend. David Crockett fell 14-12 to Ooltewah in its season opener on Friday. Kollie turned 30 carries into 171 yards and a touchdown, completed all three of his pass attempts for 16 yards and recorded eight tackles, including a tackle for a loss.
Texas: Mansfield Legacy defensive end David Abiara. The University Interscholastic League had members of its two largest classifications, 5A and 6A, push back their football seasons five weeks. Mansfield Legacy will open with Byron Nelson on Sept. 24.
Florida: Valrico Bloomingdale cornerback Philip Riley. Members of the Florida High School Athletic Association will begin their football seasons two weeks later than previously scheduled. Bloomingdale opens its season with Armwood on Sept. 11.
Louisiana: Metairie Archbishop Rummel running back Logan Diggs. The Raiders had their football season postponed four weeks. Archbishop Rummel will now open with Hammond on Oct. 9.
Missouri: Saint Peters Lutheran defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio. Lutheran’s Sept. 4 opener against Chaminade has been canceled. So Rubio will start his senior season on Sept. 11 against Duchesne.
Rhode Island: Warwick Bishop Hendricken defensive end Jason Onye. Per MaxPreps, Bishop Hendricken will play a five-game schedule that begins with Cranston West on Sept. 25 and ends against Portsmouth on Oct. 23.