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Who's Next? Breaking Down the QB Targets in the Class of 2026

Written by Connor D'Aquila ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter/X: @ConnorDaquilaIT

Photo via Noah Grubbs, X (@NoahGrubbsQB)

We are just seeing the beginning of the push for recruits in the high school class of 2026, but a few names have separated themselves quickly for Notre Dame. After securing commitments from CJ Carr and Deuce Knight in back-to-back classes, the Irish and Coach Gino Guidugli will certainly look to continue the momentum. Both Knight and Carr were very early commitments in their respective classes, so it may also be possible that we have the answer at the quarterback position early once more. If it is someone from this group, fans should be incredibly excited. See our breakdown of the targets below:

Brady Hart

Beginning with the player who has the most chatter surrounding ND, Hart was offered by Notre Dame in December and quickly became a priority. He made the trip from Cocoa, FL to South Bend in April and all indications have been that it was a great experience. With Michigan recently offering, Texas A&M on the list, and in-state Florida being a major contender, this will by no means be an easy recruitment, but Notre Dame has established itself well early in the process. 

On the 247Sports Composite, he is ranked a four-star, the number 109 player nationally, and the ninth-ranked quarterback. This is a player with impressive size and only one year as a starter under his belt. In that first year with Cocoa, he recorded a 66% completion rate, threw for 3,579 yards, and had 41 touchdowns with 11 interceptions; this was all while leading the team to a state title. Watching the film, the room for his body to fill out is obvious. Listed at six-foot-four, 180 pounds, he is very thin, but that is to be expected from a sophomore in high school. Otherwise, he does not show his age or inexperience in-game. Cocoa runs a pass-heavy offense, and he was able to make all the throws asked of him. He also had impressive accuracy, putting a few balls on the outside in the perfect location for the receiver. Coach Guidugli and his staff obviously like this player, and it is clear why. I believe he would be a great addition (or beginning) to the class. 

Noah Grubbs

Another passer out of Florida, Grubbs is also an exciting prospect that Notre Dame has made a major priority. 247Sports ranks him a four-star, just behind Hart as the number 10 quarterback and number 121 overall player in the country, and he has gained a lot of interest from programs around the country. He has already put ND in his top 10 list, but they are joined by elite programs like Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Auburn, and Texas A&M. In his two years as a starter for Lake Mary High School, Grubbs has been productive and had an impressive jump in 2023 for his sophomore season. En route to a 10-2 record, he completed 58% of his passes for 3,677 yards and 49 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. On one night in August, he set a school record with eight touchdowns and 528 yards. He possesses similar size to Hart at six-foot-four, 188 pounds, but he looks a bit more built on film. Otherwise, the tape shows an impressive passer. His deep ball is very strong, but he can throw it anywhere on the field, and the ball always jumps out of his hand. In a couple of clips, he even got out of the pocket to make some impressive tosses on the move. This is another high-end prospect to have on the radar. 

Brady Smigiel 

Smigiel has already thrown for over 7,700 yards and 98 touchdowns while collecting a second-team all-state selection in his two-year high school career, so the suitors for him are understandably numerous. At six-foot-five, 205 pounds, this is a very big sophomore competing at a high level with Newbury Park in California. He is ranked as the number 62 prospect nationally and the number five quarterback with offers from Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon, and many others. This past season, he led his team to a 10-4 record and the Southern Division 5 title game, where they would fall to Orange Vista. This was all while throwing for 4,222 yards, 52 touchdowns (a county record), and 14 interceptions on a 59% completion rate. On film, he moves extremely well in the pocket and the arm strength jumps off of the screen. He was routinely making difficult throws that traveled upwards of 40 yards downfield. He was also putting the ball in some tight windows and his field vision looked good, but it will be important to keep an eye on the accuracy as he progresses. Overall, ND is not in as strong of a position with this recruitment as they are with others, but he is still within reach and would be a great get. 

Ryder Lyons

A fellow all-state second-team player with Smigiel, Ryder Lyons has put together an unbelievable resume that has him sought after by teams across the country. As a sophomore, he led Folsom High School, the former home of Rico Flores, to a 13-2 record and a Division 1-A state championship after a run that included three game-winning drives by the sophomore facing some of the top competition in the country. On the year, he totaled 3,578 yards on 68% passing while throwing for 38 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Pair this with another 929 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing, it was truly an incredible season for the first-time starter. All of this has earned Lyons a five-star status, the number nine overall ranking, and the number two quarterback ranking in the class. It has also earned him offers from the likes of Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and in-state USC, where his brother plays tight end. At six-foot-two, 215 pounds, he does not possess overwhelming height, but his strength and athleticism are incredible. On film, his release also pops off the screen and his polish is unmatched in the class. To me, Lyons is an elite prospect in every sense of the word and just a quick glance at the tape will show you that. He moves incredibly well, can throw all over the field, and tucks the ball in pockets that not many high school players could. Notre Dame will have their work cut out for them to get this done, but I hope they continue to push. 

Troy Huhn

Huhn also comes from high-level California football, but he has had much less production at this point in his career than the prior two players we have spoken about. Still, he is ranked as a four-star, the number 144 player, and the number 11 quarterback in the class, meaning this is a player many see a lot of potential in. Ohio State, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Oregon have all offered, and it is easy to see why after watching him play. Despite throwing for only 1,623 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore, this is a big kid with an incredible arm. At six-foot-four, 205 pounds, he effortlessly makes 35+ yard passes on a rope with a ton of accuracy. His ball might be one of the most impressive I have seen in this class, and the windows he finds are impressive. This is an upside play, but it is one I would be thrilled to see the Irish make. 

Overall, there are a lot of very strong options in this class, and Notre Dame has put itself in a good position with many of them. It will be up to the staff to close, but anyone on this list should be a player ND fans are ecstatic about. 


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