Many people grow up diehard Notre Dame fans and proclaim that they want to see the Fighting Irish win another – or for the under 30 crowd, a first – national title.
Notre Dame class of 2022 linebacker pledge Nolan Ziegler fits that mold and can play a role in helping the Irish achieve it.
“I’ve always wanted to see Notre Dame win a national championship in my lifetime,” he said. “Now I can be a part of the Irish winning one too.”
Ziegler knows it takes the best players to win a title, so he wants to help the Irish staff however he can to help their recruiting efforts. This also includes building camaraderie with other committed players.
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“I see these guys as my future teammates,” Ziegler said. “I’ll be able to call them teammates for the rest of our lives if they’re with me at Notre Dame. I’m building those bonds as best as possible; that’s what you need to win a national championship.”
Ziegler, who plans to enroll early at Notre Dame in 2022, connects with other recruits via video games.
“I’m talking to good players who we’ve offered, telling them that Notre Dame that is place to be,” Ziegler added. “I’m getting to know them, and I play video games with guys like Tyson Ford, Prince Kollie and Ty Chan. I’m getting to know the other Notre Dame recruits.
“Playing video games with them has been good because we haven’t been able to meet each other.”
Ziegler isn’t a bulldog on the recruiting trail like Blake Fisher was for the Irish in the 2021 class. His personality is chill and focuses more on connecting with other prospects on a personal level.
“I do help a little bit, but it’s mainly the coaches’ job to recruit,” he said. “They’re already talking to the coaches every day. I just let them know that Notre Dame is the spot.”
One of Ziegler’s top targets was Traverse City (Mich.) Central linebacker Joshua Burnham, who committed to the Irish on his birthday, which happens to be St. Patrick’s Day.
Burnham and Ziegler share the same birthday and are four-star linebackers from the state of Michigan who picked Notre Dame over Michigan. There’s plenty of similarities between these two.
“I think we’re the two defensive players and best linebackers in Michigan,” Ziegler noted. “I told him that Notre Dame has the best culture, coaches and religious aspect. We’re on the uprise. I told him that he’d be great for the team.
“He’s fast, physical and can fit the run. He hits hard and is athletic. He’s a bit stalkier than me; he’s an inside linebacker and I’ll play out in space. We’ll play well together.”
Ziegler is also Irish and had relatives who played at Notre Dame; this made his decision much easier. In Burnham’s case, he was considered a big Michigan lean and is from a pro-Wolverines town.
“I always knew I was going to Notre Dame,” Ziegler added. “I wanted to check out some other schools, but with COVID, I figured I might as well commit. I knew I was going to Notre Dame. I bleed blue and gold.”
Ziegler is also recruiting other linebacker prospects to join him and Burnham at Notre Dame, including Sebastian Cheeks and Niuafe Tuihalamaka.
“They’re great linebackers,” said Ziegler. “They’ll help us get to the national championship and win it. They work hard and have a great attitude towards the game. They’re definitely Notre Dame guys who will help the team.”
During his junior campaign, Ziegler totaled 120 tackles, forced six fumbles and intercepted one pass in just nine games. He played some receiver as well, catching four passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns.
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