Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DE Khalid Kareem Sets The Bar For Defensive Line Play

August 5, 2019
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Defensive end Khalid Kareem waited his time and now has the chance to leave a legacy at Notre Dame as he enters his senior year. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder turned down the NFL to return for his final season and as fall camp begins, Kareem is focused on leadership.
 
“There are 106-107 guys,” stated Kareem. “The coaches can’t see or address everything. I want to help them out and be another coach on the field.”
 
The Michigan native was joined by classmates Daelin Hayes, Ade Ogundeji and Julian Okwara in the 2016 recruiting class. It was an excellent defensive line class headlined by Hayes and Kareem, but it took some time for the talent to rise to the top and now the foursome looks to exceed expectations in 2019.
 
“I feel it was always there,” explained Kareem. “We always knew we were going to be the class to change it. We had to do it ourselves. We had to take on the responsibility that it was our time. We had show what we can do. We have worked so long off the field, putting in extra hours during the summer.”
 
As an individual, Kareem will look to build on his 42 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass deflections and one forced fumble a year ago.
 
Step one of that process will be staying healthy.
 
“I expect to be the best me,” Kareem said. “I want to try to stay healthy and do what I know I can do. We need to rush as a unit and I want to help guys out. The production will come.”
 
The second part is precisely what Kareem mentioned. Rush as a unit. Notre Dame’s edge players will give offensive coordinators a severe lack of sleep this season and it starts with Kareem and Okwara playing off of each other.
 
Kareem has seen Okwara put in the extra work to become a complete player, which should get Notre Dame fans extremely excited.
 
“He’s way more physical and uses more technique this year,” Kareem said. “He’s a technician and honing in on his skills now. Watch out for Julian.”
 
Kareem put in the extra work this summer to back it up. While in Atlanta for an internship with OTR Capital, Kareem got work in with Chip Smith and former Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard.
 
“It was more honing in on my skills,” Kareem explained. “I was trying to tighten up the loose ends a little bit. I wanted to work on my swipes, clubs and explosion. I worked on my strength and conditioning. I wanted to be able to just go. That was a big question mark for me. ‘Can he just go? Where is his breaking point?’
 
“I don’t want to have one.”
 
The work ethic is one where Kareem leads by example and it’s already started to rub off on freshman defensive end Isaiah Foskey.
 
“I love Foskey,” said Kareem. “He’s a hard worker. There was a day during summer workouts and we were doing gassers. We had to have the same time as the linebackers, but he went and ran with the linebackers. He was first. He has a motor.
 
“He’s going to be good.”

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