State’s top recruit is a Notre Dame commit. How coaching change affects him is TBD

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  • Clayton White
    American football coach
  • Shane Beamer
    American football player and coach

The turn of events at Notre Dame on Monday night could have an impact on linebacker Jaylen Sneed of Hilton Head High School.

Sneed (6-3, 220) has been committed to the Irish since July, but now that Brian Kelly is moving to LSU, the door might be open for other programs, such as South Carolina USC, to make a run.

Sneed is a five-star recruit, the No. 1 prospect in South Carolina and the top-ranked player in Notre Dame’s 2022 class.

Hilton Head coach BJ Payne said Monday night that it’s too soon to determine how Sneed is going to react to Kelly’s departure.

“Him and I talked on the phone and there are so many variables and factors that go into something like this,” Payne said. “You wait until something is official and then you start looking at the million different ways and different avenues that can go with this. I’ve been through this with a player before, so I talk to him and tell him to relax.

“Poona Ford went through the same thing. He was committed to Louisville and then coach (Charlie) Strong took the job at Texas. ... We’ll see what happens and see who ends up where. There’s going to be a lot of changes.”

Sneed did post a message to social media Tuesday morning in support of Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. Betting site Betonline.ag lists Freeman as the favorite to be the Irish’s next coach.

“In coach freeman we trust,” Sneed posted to Twitter.

Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer and defensive coordinator Clayton White have been actively working Sneed the past few weeks. Sneed has been to a pair of games in Columbia this season, including last Saturday’s rivalry match with Clemson.

“Coach Beamer has done a fantastic job recruiting him,” Payne said. “I’ve known Clayton White for 15 years. He recruited one of my kids in Ohio when he was at Stanford. We talked a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of coaching changes and what he would possibly do, including staying with Notre Dame. He said there was a possibility of some programs he’d be interested in.

“Clayton and Shane have done an amazing job — they just got in so late. The advantage Notre Dame had is that they had Marcus Freeman. Marcus Freeman was his first offer his freshman year at Cincinnati.”

Payne added that while there may be some interest in USC by Sneed in recent weeks, he wasn’t looking to break his commitment to the Irish — and he made that clear to both parties.

“Notre Dame knew both times he went to games. He cleared it with Notre Dame before he went to games,” Payne said. “It has been made known to me that he has let the South Carolina staff know that he is a thousand percent committed to going to Notre Dame. (Kelly leaving) changes some things, maybe.

On the flip side of that, South Carolina is looking at him as the number one player in the state, and if he wants to come up for games, of course they are going to give him tickets. And his sister goes to school there, and he goes up to see her. He takes a couple of buddies up and he gets free tickets and goes to the game.”

Sneed took official visits to Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee in June, and Payne pointed out that he really liked the Oregon visit. As for coaches coming in this week, Payne said White and Freeman are expected in, though the schedule could change for Freeman considering the circumstances.

Notre Dame coaching search

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