Jaylen Sneed is off the market.
With his family, friends, and teammates joining him in the Hilton Head Island High School media center, the heavily-recruited senior linebacker announced his commitment to the University of Notre Dame on Monday, joining one of the most storied college football programs in the nation.
“It just feels great,” Sneed said. “It’s like a weight off my back. I can just be able to tell everybody that I’m going to the University of Notre Dame. It was amazing just knowing that all these people support me, and they’re going to ride with me for my journey.”
Sneed is the most highly recruited player in the program’s history and the Seahawks’ biggest college prospect since Poona Ford seven years ago. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Seahawk standout is ranked as the 97th overall recruit in the country and 10th at his position by 247Sports.com.
Sneed didn’t have Notre Dame as one of his top choices initially, but a pair of visits to South Bend this past spring and summer vaulted the program to the top of his list. A June trip to the University of Oregon brought the Ducks into frontrunner status alongside the Fighting Irish, but it wasn’t enough to sway the Notre Dame-bound Seahawk.
“As soon as I stepped onto campus, it gave me chills,“ Sneed said. “This is where I wanted to be for the next four years of my life.”
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The explosive linebacker has been a force for BJ Payne’s defense over the last three years, using his elite strength and high motor to make plays all over the field while playing lockdown pass coverage. Sneed delivered a breakout sophomore year, recording 76 tackles including 18 for loss and four sacks alongside two forced fumbles and an interception.
The offers began to roll in from top programs across the country after his 2019 season, and the now-Notre Dame commit continued his momentum into a shortened junior year, dominating on both sides of the ball against rival Bluffton with a trio of rushing touchdowns on top of a pair of sacks.
Now, with his senior year on the horizon, Sneed will look to improve his craft even further as he eyes his next chapter in one of the sport’s greatest venues. It won’t be easy transitioning to the highest level of college football, but the Seahawk star is up for the challenge.
“I feel like they’re getting one of the best linebackers in the country,” Sneed said. ”A violent player that’s always going to work hard, and a player that’s going to do what it takes to win.”
By Wes Kerr / Photo by Mary Beth Lyons