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Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 7 | DL Jayson & Justin Ademilola

July 29, 2019

We are looking at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 9 | S Jalen Elliott

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 8 | LB Jordan Genmark Heath

I’ll admit No. 7 is cheating because I’m going to name two players in Jayson and Justin Ademilola. The twins have been together and compared every step of their football career, but this isn’t about comparisons to each other.

Entering 2019, I believe both are in similar situations and impacts along the defensive line. Both players won’t start, but will play crucial roles within the Irish defensive front after getting valuable experience as true freshmen a year ago.

The Ademilola twins could be a year from being full-time starters, but that’s exactly the path they were sold when being recruited by Notre Dame. Elston has built a culture of depth and talent, which prevents a freshman being thrown to the wolves, while no one is playing 80-90 snaps a game like Sheldon Day and Isaac Rochell. 

Jayson has more experience entering this season as he has been a stable force on the interior of the defensive line after Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa went down with a foot injury against Michigan in the season opener in 2018.

The 6-foot-3, 284-pounder recorded 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks last season. I expect him to double his production this season and would it surprise me to see him potentially take a starting role over Tagovailoa-Amosa? No and that’s not a shot at Tagovailoa-Amosa, but rather how good Ademilola could be in 2019.

Ademilola gives Notre Dame a better pass rusher inside and a quicker player who can hold up against the run. Notre Dame may have to take some risks and shoot gaps at times, which plays to Ademilola’s strengths. 

On the edge, Justin recorded 10 tackles last season and quite frankly surprised many when he made his debut against Wake Forest in week four. 

Many experts felt Justin was a lesser prospect, but behind closed doors, Notre Dame and other programs felt Ademilola’s ceiling was much higher than some gave him credit for. 

“The world has kind of made him second fiddle to his brother, which I’m all good with,” Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston said on Signing Day. “I hope he does have a chip.

“I think he’ll be the surprise of the class.” 

Now, Ademilola might not get as many snaps as his brother as the defensive end position is loaded with quality depth, but there is a reason he was playing when the game was close against Clemson. Ademilola can give the Irish a boost in pass rush and allows them to play around with many different lineups to apply pressure. If Clark Lea and Elston want to move Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara to the same side with Daelin Hayes and Ademilola on the other side on third down? Elston can do that.

When it comes to intrigue, third down will be crucial for the Irish and the Ademilola twins will need to leave a significant mark if Notre Dame hopes to make it back to the College Football Playoff, which is a role they have embraced as I was told this earlier this summer by one source.

“They are working really hard. I’ve never seen them this focused or prepared before.” 

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