GREEN BAY, Wis. (BVM) – Notre Dame De La Baie Academy junior tight end James Flanigan has had an exceptional career with the Tritons. Since starting as a freshman, Flanigan has recorded 50 catches for 1,098 yards and 17 touchdowns in 26 career games including 17 catches for 377 yards and six touchdowns in eight games this season.
Given the 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end’s success, Flanigan is ranked as a consensus four-star prospect in the Class of 2025 and has received 10 Division I offers including from Michigan, Penn State, Stanford and Wisconsin. On Oct. 21, Flanigan committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
“I feel Notre Dame is special,” Flanigan said. “The tradition, the success, the history, the current state of the program, all of that is the best of the best. It felt right for me and I’m very happy with [my decision] so far.”
Committed ☘️ pic.twitter.com/MzzWxqTROn
— James Flanigan (@Jamesflanigan88) October 21, 2023
With his decision, Flanigan will become the second member of his family to don the iconic golden helmet. His father, Jim Flanigan Jr., played for the Fighting Irish from 1990-93, helping the program win three straight bowl games.
“It was really cool [to share my commitment with my dad],” James said. “Obviously he was there for college, a big part of his life, so getting to share his alma mater recruiting me was definitely cool for him.”
— James Flanigan (@Jamesflanigan88) March 25, 2023
Though James’ dad had a successful run in South Bend, he never pushed his son to play for his alma mater.
“He was kind of like find your own place and if it’s Notre Dame that’s great,” James said. “He’s always been super supportive of whatever decision I want to make will be best for me. He’s been great through this process and finding the right place for me and it was really cool it happened to be Notre Dame.”
Jim has served as an inspiration for his son, both as a father figure and a football player. Following his time at Notre Dame, Jim was drafted in the third round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and spent 10 seasons in the NFL, retiring two years before James was born.
“He doesn’t really talk about it much so it’s not really something I think about every day, he’s just dad to me,” James said. “It is really cool when I think about it. He played a long career and obviously worked really hard for his success so he’s a role model for me.”
The Flanigan family is one full of football success. Not only did Jim Flanigan Jr. play in the NFL, but so did his father, Jim Flanigan Sr., who played five years in the NFL, winning Super Bowl II with the Green Bay Packers. James’ uncle, Brian, also played D-I college football for the University of Wisconsin.
“It’s kind of the family business at this point,” James said. “I love to compete no matter what the sport is. It’s great to be out there and just work hard and do your best competing.”
James hopes to continue to build his family legacy with the Fighting Irish. He has NFL aspirations for himself and feels that Notre Dame gives him the best chance to reach that level, especially given their reputation for sending tight ends to the league.
“Since I was little it’s been in the back of my mind, I want to do what my dad and my grandpa did and make it to the NFL and have a good, solid career as well,” James said. “I think [Notre Dame] is ‘Tight End U’. A lot of schools I was considering all claim to be ‘Tight End U’ but definitely a lot of tight ends have come through recently from Notre Dame and so that was another big draw to choose Notre Dame as well.”
But James wishes for more than just individual success with the Fighting Irish. Given the program’s rich tradition of winning and championships, James is setting the bar high for himself and his future teammates.
“When I get there, I’m going to work my butt off to develop myself and make my team better, set some records and the big goal is a national championship,” James said. “It’s going to be a great time at Notre Dame. We’re going to win.”
However, before he can make his way to South Bend, James still has to finish not only this season but the next one as well. With his Tritons sitting at 9-1, James hopes to finish his high school career with some significant hardware.
“Obviously you always want to win the last game, the state championship,” James said. “The big goal is to win the state championship and then next year to get back to it.”