Numbers crunch at Tight End U prompts Jack Nickel to decommit from Notre Dame

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Tight End U appeared to be headed for a potential tight end glut.

As a result, 2022 commit Jack Nickel exited the potential numbers game Tuesday, decommitting from the Irish and reopening his recruitment. He made the announcement on Twitter.

The Irish have five tight ends on their current roster, none of whom has expiring eligibility after the 2021 season, though George Takacs will be a senior this coming season academically.

Besides Nickel, Notre Dame was involved with two other 2022 tight end prospects — Holden Staes of Atlanta and Eli Raridon of West Des Moines, Iowa — both of whom are ranked higher than Nickel by 247Sports and Rivals.

“It looks like Notre Dame has a really good shot at both Staes and Raridon,” CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “All three are outstanding, but three is too many tight ends to bring in, in one year. I don’t blame Jack. He’s good enough to be the No. 1 guy for a lot of schools.”

Nickel, 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, is from Milton High in Alpharetta, Ga., and is rated the nation’s No. 34 player at his position by Rivals and 27th by 247Sports. Staes (6-4, 230) is 14th and 15th, respectively. Raridon (6-6, 220) is 22nd and 16th, respectively.

Nickel was the second player to make a verbal commitment in the 2022 class, announcing his pledge on July 27, a little over two months after securing an offer. Oregon, LSU, Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida State were among schools that extended scholarship offers before he originally pledged to ND.

Staes, from the Westminster School in Atlanta, originally committed to Penn State from an offer list that included Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU and USC. He reopened his recruitment on Feb. 5, and Notre Dame offered shortly thereafter. He’s penciled in for an official visit to ND in June, provided the NCAA’s protracted dead period ends May 31, as expected.

Raridon, from Valley High, has planned a self-guided tour of ND for later this month, with a possible official visit to follow in June. His father, Scott Jr., was an offensive lineman/long snapper for the Irish in the early 2000s, while grandfather, Scott Sr., was Notre Dame’s strength and conditioning coach when the Irish won their 1988 national title under Lou Holtz.

Iowa is perceived to be the biggest challenger to the Irish for Raridon.

Ten Notre Dame tight ends have been drafted since 2005, with seven coming during the coach Brian Kelly Era and Tommy Tremble expected to be No. 8 later this month. Six of the 10 were selected to rounds 1 or 2.

Prospects in the 2022 class can’t sign binding national letters-of-intent until the early signing period, Dec. 15-17.

Nickel’s exit leaves the Irish with 11 committed recruits in the 2022 class.

Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton High’s Jack Nickel, a tight end in the 2022 recruiting class, decommitted Tuesday from Notre Dame and reopened his recruitment.