Get to know the class of 2023 prospects committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in this feature from BlueandGold.com.
We have provided background info on each of the commits below (in chronological order from the newest pledge to the oldest), and will continue to update this article each time Notre Dame lands a new commitment.
Denton (Texas) Guyer safety Peyton Bowen
Commitment date: Jan. 1, 2022
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 53 national, No. 4 safety and No. 8 player from Texas.
It came down to Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC for Denton (Texas) Guyer’s Peyton Bowen, and it was a rather easy choice for him to choose the Fighting Irish, especially after Lincoln Riley left the Sooners for the Trojans, plus the fact that Marcus Freeman was elevated to head coach.
Bowen is an impressive prospect with his range, athleticism and playmaking ability, and he comes from one of the very best programs in Texas, which is also home to other Fighting Irish targets in the 2023 class. He was named to the 2021 MaxPreps High School Football Junior All-America Team.
Las Vegas Bishop Gorman cornerback Justyn Rhett
Commitment date: Dec. 11, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 125 national, No. 15 cornerback and No. 3 player from Nevada.
Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman offered Las Vegas Bishop Gorman cornerback Justyn Rhett after the four-star recruit ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at the Irish Invasion camp on June 6, 2021. Rhett favored Notre Dame at that point, and after he returned to campus to see the Fighting Irish defeat USC 31-16 on Oct. 23, 2021, he knew South Bend was where he wanted to call home for his college years. Rhett announced his commitment to Notre Dame a few weeks later, choosing the Irish over Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and others.
Rhett’s defensive backs coach at Bishop Gorman is Nicco Fertitta, who played safety and primarily on special teams for the Irish from 2015-18. His father, Troy, was a cornerback for Albany, an FCS program in New York, from 1995-99.
Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean linebacker Drayk Bowen
Commitment date: Nov. 3, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 47 national, No. 4 linebacker and No. 1 player from Indiana.
When Notre Dame offered Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean linebacker Drayk Bowen back on Feb. 12, 2021, it seemed like just a matter of time before the four-star recruit would eventually choose the Fighting Irish. While that ended up being true, it wasn’t as clear of a slam dunk as many thought it would be, as Auburn and Clemson were strong contenders throughout Bowen’s recruitment. But the option of staying close to home and strong recruiting efforts by Freeman and Co. proved to be too much for the Southern schools to overcome.
Bowen will also play baseball at Notre Dame. During his sophomore baseball season, Bowen played every position except catcher, and hit .400 with 26 runs scored, 16 runs batted in and a team-high 23 stolen bases, per NWI.com. He’s played both in the infield and outfield at the high school level.
Miami Gulliver Prep running back Sedrick Irvin Jr.
Commitment date: Sept. 22, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 312 national, No. 22 running back and No. 62 player from Florida.
Notre Dame beat out the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Miami for Miami Gulliver Prep’s Sedrick Irvin Jr. Academics played a key role as Notre Dame and Stanford were his final two choices. His visit to South Bend last summer and a strong relationship with the Irish staff helped Notre Dame land Irvin’s early pledge.
The 5-10, 177-pounder is actually from Maryland and didn’t move to Florida until he was 9 years old. Additionally, his father, Sedrick Irvin Sr., made a similar move, leaving the Sunshine State for Michigan State when he was a recruit in the 1996 class. The elder Irvin was a first-team USA Today All-American as a prep and went on to rush for 3,504 yards and accounted for 41 touchdowns during his career with the Spartans. He is No. 5 on Michigan State’s all-time rushing yardage list and No. 4 in rushing touchdowns.
Irvin’s father is a cousin of NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. He was an intern on Nick Saban’s Alabama staff from 2008-09 with Lance Taylor and also coached at Memphis (2010-11) and Eastern Carolina (2016). He has been a high school head coach at Gulliver Prep (2006-08, 2019-current), Westminster Christian (2011-16), Miami Senior (2016-17) and Miami Southridge (2018-19).
Concord (Calif.) De La Salle tight end Cooper Flanagan
Commitment date: Sept. 2, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 210 national, No. 12 tight end and No. 13 player from California.
Notre Dame wants to keep its tight end tradition strong and should be able to do so with the addition of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle’s Cooper Flanagan in the 2023 cycle. Flanagan received his Notre Dame scholarship offer on Aug. 6, 2021 after a few months of building a relationship with Irish tight ends coach John McNulty. Flanagan visited Notre Dame’s campus in June and loved his experience. At that point, it was clear that if Notre Dame offered Flanagan, he would end up choosing the Irish.
Flanagan also held scholarship offers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Michigan State, San Jose State, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. Alabama offered him in January 2021, but Flanagan is expected to remain solid in his pledge to the Fighting Irish.
Irvington (N.J.) High safety Adon Shuler
Commitment date: Aug. 15, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 127 national, No. 8 safety and No. 2 player from New Jersey.
Notre Dame offered Irvington (N.J.) High’s Adon Shuler in May 2021, and the coaching staff loved the four-star prospect even more after seeing him in person at their camp in late July. Notre Dame’s life after football pitch and relationship with the coaching staff were big factors for Shuler in picking the Fighting Irish.
He was named to the 2020 All-Essex County first-team defense and the 2020 Liberty Red Division first-team defense. He erupted as a junior, leading his team to a state title and being named a USA Today first-team all-state performer. Shuler held scholarship offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia.
Mentor (Ohio) High defensive end Brenan Vernon
Commitment date: June 29, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 64 national, No. 11 defensive lineman and No. 2 player from Ohio.
Notre Dame pulled off a massive recruiting upset June 29 when Mentor (Ohio) High’s Brenan Vernon announced his pledge to the Irish over Ohio State, the long-perceived favorite. Notre Dame offered Vernon on Jan. 31, 2020 during a conversation with defensive line coach Mike Elston. The Irish staff kept things steady with Vernon throughout 2020 and into 2021, but it didn’t really heat up until May 2021. The Irish staff started having weekly Zoom calls with the four-star prospect, which went very well.
Vernon visited campus twice last June and wrapped up his recruitment early. Alabama, Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Kent State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State made up Vernon’s offer list.
Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep defensive end Keon Keeley
Commitment date: June 28, 2021
On3 Consensus Ranking: No. 22 national, No. 2 EDGE and No. 5 player from Florida.
Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep defensive end Keon Keeley became Notre Dame’s first commitment of the 2023 class when he gave his pledge June 28 over Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina and others. The Fighting Irish offered Keeley during its Pot of Gold recruiting initiative on March 17, 2021, and Elston and Co. recruited him hard in the following three months. Keeley made his way up to Notre Dame for a visit the weekend of June 11 and was blown away. It was at that point that Keeley knew he wanted to call Notre Dame home.
Keeley still has other programs in pursuit, and the likes of Georgia and Ohio State offered him a scholarship after his commitment to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will have to hold off other powerhouse schools to keep Keeley in the class.