Ascending tight end prospect Eli Raridon commits to Notre Dame
The comp recruiting analyst Tom Lemming pulled when sizing up Notre Dame football’s latest verbal commitment was Tyler Eifert.
As in former All-America tight end and first-round NFL Draft pick Tyler Eifert.
“He’s got the same kind of frame Tyler Eifert had in high school,” Lemming said of 6-foot-6, 230-pound Iowan Eli Raridon, who on Sunday became the 12th member of the Irish class of 2022 with his verbal pledge.
“And he’s got that kind of potential. He’s that good of an athlete.”
The West Des Moines Valley High standout is currently rated as a three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and 247Sports. He’s ranked No. 22 and 17 at his position nationally, respectively, by the two services — assessments Lemming believes are already outdated.
“With Notre Dame now being Tight End U, they can really go after the best tight ends in the country,” Lemming said. “I think that Eli has the potential to be one of the very best because of his athletic ability, height and hands and growth potential.”
He also has some strong football bloodlines. Grandpa Scott Raridon Sr, was an All-America offensive tackle at Nebraska in the early '80s and served as a Notre Dame strength coach later that decade, including during ND’s run to a national title under Lou Holtz in 1988.
Father Scott Sr., also an offensive lineman, was ND’s long snapper in the early 2000s.
"Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a die-hard Fighting Irish fan," Eli told the Des Moines Register. "I remember praying as a little kid to get a scholarship to play football at Notre Dame. Pretty much every Halloween, I would dress up as a Notre Dame football player.
"And now here I am.
"I took a self-guided visit to Notre Dame last weekend, and I had previously taken self-guided visits to Iowa State and Iowa in the past month. I really wasn’t expecting to make a decision based on these visits. I was just trying to get a better feel for the schools. I was pretty set on taking my official visits to Notre Dame, Iowa, Iowa State and Tennessee in June.
"But after going to Notre Dame, I fell in love with the place. I really just couldn’t see myself going anywhere else. The trip was a deal-breaker for me."
Raridon caught 22 passes for 237 yards this past season for Valley High.
His commitment comes two days after Irish tight end Tommy Tremble was taken by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the NFL Draft and a little less than three weeks after tight end prospect Jack Nickel decommitted.
Auburn, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State and Tennessee were among the other suitors for Raridon, who initially had dreams of playing college basketball.
The Irish have a good chance of landing a second tight end in the class — Holden Staes of Atlanta, who originally was committed to Penn State.
“(Tight ends) coach John McNulty is doing a good job of identifying the top talent and bringing it to Notre Dame,” Lemming said. "The tight end tradition lives on."