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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Almost a year after verbal commitment, Preston Zinter signs on with Irish

On Wednesday morning, linebacker recruit Preston Zinter signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame and play football for the Irish. The outside linebacker is from Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he played for Central Catholic high school.

Zinter is ranked the No. 7 overall player in his home state. As a linebacker, he comes in at No. 40 nationally. The player at the top of that list, according to Rivals, is linebacker Drayk Bowen. Zinter will join Bowen on the Irish roster for the 2023 season. Zinter and Bowen step into an already full linebacker room as veteran leaders have yet to announce if they’re leaving or staying, and Prince Kollie has also begun to make name for himself within the Irish roster. Still, Zinter brings more competition to the linebacker unit. He would not be the first three-star linebacker to break into Irish stardom. Starter and captain JD Bertrand, starters Jack Kiser and Marist Liufau and 2021 team captain Drew White all began their collegiate careers as three-star recruits.

Zinter can also fill a flexible role on the Irish roster. The outside linebacker has also played as a tight end and a defensive end, the two positions the Irish saw vacated for the NFL Draft by Isaiah Foskey and Michael Mayer. At the very least, Zinter’s tight end experience means he’ll bring a set of good hands to the defense and an understanding of offensive play. In terms of the Foskey-sized hole at defensive end, some outside linebackers may be recruited to move into that role. That could be an opportunity for Zinter or open up space to fill if someone like Kiser takes on Vyper responsibilities.

Zinter has been a star at Central Catholic. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, the linebacker unofficially visited five schools besides Notre Dame. He visited Boston College three times, Michigan twice, Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State once. Although a few predicted Michigan and Boston College to earn the linebacker’s services, Zinter did not pivot from his verbal commitment to the Irish on Feb. 11.

Contact Mannion McGinley at mmcginl3@nd.edu