Another day, another big name returns to Notre Dame football fold

Tom Noie
ND Insider
Notre Dame’s Jarrett Patterson (55) during Notre Dame’s 32-29 win over Virginia Tech in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Blacksburg, Va.

On Saturday, a key piece to the 2022 Notre Dame defense fell into place when vyper defensive end Isaiah Foskey announced his return.

On Sunday, it was time for a key piece to the 2022 Notre Dame offense to do the same.

Like Foskey, starting center/captain Jarrett Patterson isn't ready to make the jump to the NFL. Patterson announced shortly before noon Sunday on social media that he would be back for one more year, his fifth with the Irish.

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"I cannot explain how grateful I am for the past three and a half years at this university and what it has done for me on and off the field," Patterson wrote.

"So let’s do it one more time."

A 6-foot-4 1/2, 307-pound native of Laguna Hills, California, Patterson has started each of the last three years. He played in all 13 games in 2021. He's played in 37 in his collegiate career. His return stabilizes an already strong group that includes freshman tackles Joe Alt and Blake Fisher, super senior Josh Lugg and left guard Andrew Kristofic. Lugg announced last week that he also would return in 2022 for his sixth year.

Lugg could move to right guard to make room for Fisher, who started at right tackle in Notre Dame's loss to Oklahoma State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

Notre Dame’s Jarrett Patterson (55) during Notre Dame’s 32-29 win over Virginia Tech in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Blacksburg, Va.

Notre Dame's offensive line was expected to be good in 2022. With the return of Patterson, the group has a chance to be really good. Maybe even great. Patterson means that much.

The veteran group, likely the backbone of the offense in 2022, will be coached by returning offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, who will replace Jeff Quinn.

Patterson played for Quinn during his first four seasons. He was recruited to Notre Dame by Hiestand, who left for the NFL prior to Patterson's arrival as a true freshman from Mission Viejo High School, where he earned first team all-state honors.

Notre Dame's offensive line fell under heavy criticism early in 2021, but part of the reason was Patterson still was working his way back into football shape after sitting out spring with a foot injury. Patterson broke his left foot in the 2020 game against Boston College, which forced him to miss the season's final three games.

Notre Dame’s Jarrett Patterson (55) during the Notre Dame-USC NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

When Patterson got healthy and got back into a rhythm this season, the Irish line stabilized, and when it did the irish offense hit a not-seen-before gear under offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

Isaiah Pryor to enter NFL draft

Linebacker Isaiah Pryor announced Sunday that he will forego his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

A graduate transfer who played his first three years at Ohio State, Pryor was brought in to help at the rover position following the departure of All-American linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah who is a star rookie for the Cleveland Browns.

Pryor had his best collegiate season for the Irish in 2021, recording 42 tackles (23 solo), three for a loss and a sack.

In his tweet that included an official statement, he said, "Time to make my dreams reality."

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI