It took a while, but Notre Dame finally has its first offensive line pledge of the 2023 class.
Pfafftown (N.C.) Reagan’s Sam Pendleton, the nation’s No. 353 prospect and No. 23 interior offensive lineman per the 2023 On3 Consensus, announced his pledge to the Fighting Irish on Monday, April 25. He picked Notre Dame over Florida, Michigan and North Carolina State, which were his other three finalists.
“It’s a dream school,” Pendleton previously told Blue & Gold about the Irish. “I grew up watching Notre Dame on TV. I’m a big tradition guy, and it doesn’t get much more traditional than Notre Dame.”
Pendleton always had interest in the Fighting Irish, and when offensive line coach Harry Hiestand offered him March 16 the four-star recruit quickly set up a visit to see South Bend for the weekend of April 8. Pendleton made the trip up to campus and loved everything about Notre Dame.
“It was a really great experience,” he said. “I enjoyed my time. They value a good education and can make me a better man more than anything else.”
Pendleton made a trip down to Florida after his Notre Dame visit, and after talking things over with his family, he decided that the Fighting Irish would be his choice. The combination of Notre Dame’s academics and offensive line pedigree helped win Pendleton over.
“Coach Hiestand’s résumé speaks for itself,” Pendleton said. “I enjoyed getting to talk to him in person and interacting with him. We had a great conversation about my film and how it compares to people he’s coached.
“I can see myself being coached by him. The biggest thing I took away from Coach Hiestand is that everything the offensive line does should be together.”
The Sam Pendleton file
In addition to his finalists, Pendleton also held offers from Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
As the current Notre Dame football roster and 2023 recruiting class stands, Pendleton and defensive lineman Osita Ekwonu (Charlotte) will be the only players from North Carolina on the 2023 roster. The Irish would love to add Belmont (N.C.) South Point offensive tackle Sullivan Absher to make it three.
Pendleton was named to the 2021 Central Piedmont Conference All-Conference Football Team. He was also listed as a 2021 HSOT North Carolina All-State football first-team performer.
Regan High went 8-3 in 2021, and Pendleton helped pave the way for the Raiders to rush for 2,338 yards and 25 touchdowns on 307 carries as a team. Reagan High averaged 212.5 yards per game and 7.6 yards per carry.
Pendleton reports a 4.0 GPA and plans to study mechanical engineering at Notre Dame.
According to On3, Pendleton took 27 college visits, and seven schools received multiple visits from him. Notre Dame only hosted Pendleton once, but it was enough to secure his commitment.
Pendleton’s father, Jason, was an offensive lineman for William & Mary in the mid 1990s.