Counter Intel: Notre Dame Steals Michigan Linebacker, Xavier Nwankpa Visits A&M, Bama Lands Five-Star RB

By David Wertheim on March 20, 2021 at 1:15 pm
Joshua Burnham

Counter Intel is the smart Ohio State fan's look at recruiting action taking place within the Big Ten and top national programs.

Notre Dame Lands Michigan Linebacker

Marcus Freeman has done some serious work since becoming the new defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, and he continued that strong start this week when Michigan linebacker Joshua Burnham pledged to the Fighting Irish.

Burnham is rated as the No. 115 overall player in the 2022 class, the No. 9 linebacker, and the No. 2 player from the state of Michigan. He chose Notre Dame over Michigan despite being a childhood fan of the Wolverines, as well as other offers from Alabama and Wisconsin. He is now the highest-rated prospect in Notre Dame's 2022 class, which ranks second in the country at this time.

The Irish also picked up a commitment last week from four-star cornerback Jaden Mickey from powerhouse Centennial High School in California. 

Mickey is rated as the No. 260 overall player in the 2022 class and the No. 30 cornerback. These are two big additions to a Notre Dame defense that was fairly strong a year ago but will look to take the next step under Freeman. 

Xavier Nwankpa Visits Texas A&M

One of the biggest remaining Ohio State targets in 2022 is safety Xavier Nwankpa. The Iowa safety has offers from basically everywhere in the country and recently took a self-guided visit to College Station to check out Texas A&M.

With the dead period still in effect, recruits cannot have contact with coaches or visit team facilities while on campus. Still, some recruits, such as Nwankpa, have been taking self-guided tours to see what things are about (as best they can). 

Nwankpa is rated as the No. 72 overall player in the 2022 class, the No. 5 safety, and the No. 1 player from Iowa. As mentioned, he has a myriad of offers, but Ohio State, Alabama, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, LSU, and home-state Iowa appear to be the leaders at this time. 

Bama Lands Five-Star Running Back

Shortly after nabbing a commitment from a five-star quarterback, Nick Saban struck again this week, landing five-star running back Emmanuel Henderson.

Henderson hails from Hartford, Alabama, a town in the very southern part of the state, about a four-hour drive from Tuscaloosa. He is also an elite basketball prospect, with basketball offers from Auburn, Georgia, and Ole Miss. He chose Alabama football over gridiron offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, and USC, among others. 

Northwestern Nabs Four-Star Receiver

It's not too often that you see Northwestern landing four-stars. They usually get one or two every class and it has to be the perfect storm as to why that recruit picked Northwestern.

Well, they got one this week as in-state wideout Reggie Fleurima picked the Wildcats. 

Fleurima is actually the first commitment for Pat Fitzgerald's 2022 class and is rated as the No. 234 player in the 2022 class, the No. 32 wide receiver, and the No. 4 player in the state of Illinois. The 6'2 Fleurima hails from Naperville, about an hour from Evanston on the opposite side of the Chicago suburbs, and represents a huge addition for Fitzgerald as he tries to build a strong 2022 class. 

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