Nov. 20, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — In order to become a perennial national contender, University of Notre Dame men’s tennis head coach Ryan Sachire and his staff dedicated the past 15 months to building a foundational recruiting class around which to elevate the Irish program. It was an effort that resulted in four highly touted additions to the Fighting Irish that committed to join the Notre Dame family during the November early signing period.
Alex Lebedev (Island Park, NY), Daniel Rayl (Carmel, Ind.), Grayson Broadus (Carrollton, Texas) and Nathan Griffin (Broadview, Ohio) inked National Letters of Intent during the early signing period and will enroll at Notre Dame in Fall 2015. Sachire expects each to play a significant role throughout their careers in elevating the Irish program.
“Overall, we are ecstatic about the recruiting class that we just signed,” Sachire said. “We view it as a `foundation class’ for our program to build around in the years to come. We expect each of the four players to play a significant role in our efforts to elevate our program into a consistent contender for national championships. I can’t over-emphasize how much of a team effort that our recruiting is and the significant role played by both [assistant coach] Adam Schaechterle and [volunteer assistant] Cris James in the development of this class over the past 15 months.”
Lebedev comes to the Irish as the highest-rated member of the class, earning a blue-chip rating from tennisrecuiting.net and considered the No. 16 prospect during parts of 2014. Currently ranked No. 234 in the world, Lebedev has played on the International Tennis Federation circuit over the past few season.
“Alex will come to Notre Dame with an extremely high base of talent,” Sachire said. “He hits the ball extremely well off of both sides, and his serve can be dominating. Alex has consistently been rated as one of the very elite prospects in the country throughout the past couple of years, and we are excited to see what he can do in our program.”
Rayl, a senior at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, has won three Indiana high school state championships and is rated as a five-star recruit. Ranked 36th in the country, he has consistently been ranked in the top 5 in the Midwest region. Sachire highlighted Rayl’s aggressive forehand and ability to transition to the net as strengths that will serve the Irish well
“We are really excited about Daniel joining our program at Notre Dame next year,” Sachire said. “His intensity, work ethic and passion for success perfectly matches the identity of our program and we are confident that he is going to add a great deal to our program. … Our coaching staff is really confident that he will have an outstanding career.”
The second five-star recruit of the class, Broadus has been rated as high as No. 35 in the nation in 2014 and consistently ranks in the top 5 in the state of Texas. In October, he won the boy’s 18s A draw at the USTA Texas Super Champ Excellence tournament in San Antonio, defeating the No. 28 player for the title. He attends ATA College Prep in Austin, the same high school attended by current Irish sophomore Josh Hagar.
“We really believe that Grayson is the biggest steal in this recruiting class,” Sachire said. “If it were not for injuries throughout much of 2014, Grayson would be ranked in the blue-chip range, and we clearly look at him as that type of prospect. Grayson’s athletic ability and dynamic forehand are his biggest weapons, and he has a great instinct to play doubles for his age and experience level. We are sky-high on the impact that Grayson can make in our program and are really anxious to get him on board next August.”
Finally, Griffin comes to the Irish with a four-star rating, but has been rated in the five-star range during parts of 2014. In May 2014, Griffin won an Ohio high school state championship and has been considered among the top 10 in the Midwest for the past few seasons.
“One of the big things that stuck out to us during Nathan’s evaluation was how his ranking has consistently improved each year over the past several years,” Sachire said. “He is an extremely hard worker and is very diligent in his craft. Nathan’s serve and backhand are his two biggest weapons, and he uses his ability to play close to the baseline to bother his opponents. Nathan is a true winner in everything that he does, and there is no doubt that he will make a significant impact on our program.”
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant