Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2021 DL Aaron Armitage's Work Ethic "Unmatched"

January 16, 2020

As defensive line coach at Blair Academy in New Jersey, Mike Coyle has had the chance to work with some prospects who have seen their recruiting profiles explode.

Oweh arrived at Blair with dreams of being a basketball star, but left a highly-touted defensive end who signed with Penn State as a member of the 2018 recruiting class. Next up was David Ojabo, who spent the early years of his life in Nigeria before moving to Scotland as a youngster. He arrived at Blair as a 15-year-old looking to play basketball and soccer before signing with Michigan as a defensive end in the Class of 2019.

“It’s outstanding,” Coyle said of the opportunities he’s had. “You’ve got guys who are coming in who want to work, are willing to work, want to learn, they’re very coachable. The expectations they have for themselves are high. It’s exciting.”

Now, it’s Aaron Armitage‍.

The 2020 defensive end is originally from Canada, but he has a deeper background with the sport. He arrived at Blair to pursue his dreams on the gridiron and is doing just that with offers from schools like Notre Dame, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Florida, Texas A&M, Stanford and Wisconsin among several others.

Coyle points to Armitage’s intangibles.

“He’s got a fantastic twitch,” said Coyle. “One of the main things with him, unlike somebody like Jayson and David, he came in with some football savvy, not as raw.

“Right now, his work ethic is unmatched. He comes to work, he works really hard. He perfects his craft day in and day out. He’s always looking for an advice to get better. He’s very coachable.”

The offers haven’t changed that at all either.

“With all of the success he’s had, he’s stayed grounded and humble,” Coyle said. “He knows he needs to work hard. He continues to work hard. I think some of that in itself, being determined to do more, has really helped his success.”

Coyle has worked with the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder on being violent with his hands, staying low and creating separation.

“As far as his aggressiveness, it’s not something you really have to focus on with him,” he added. “It’s really situational awareness, knowing what blocks and schemes are coming at him. He’s growing in that way.

“He was a very young player when he came to us, so really just learning the game and the speed of the game, those are things we really focused on, a lot of technique stuff with his pass rush, block destruction, things of that nature.”

Armitage was well-known and had several offers coming into his junior season. He dominated in 2019, but that didn’t surprise Coyle and the Blair coaching staff.

“That was our expectation,” said Coyle. “We knew going into the season what we were getting. He’s done a lot of great things for us. This year, I know he’s even working harder and I think the ceiling is actually going to raise personally for him. My expectations for this upcoming season are pretty high.”

Coyle sees Armitage as a potential 3-4 defensive end or three-technique at the next level.

“He continues to get bigger,” said Coyle. “I think if you look at it and he gets to the next level and gets in the weight room and whatnot, he’d probably be an ideal three-technique.”

Armitage is still in the midst of the recruiting process, but Coyle believes he’d fit well at Notre Dame if that was his ultimate choice.

“Coming from Blair Academy and being in the culture he’s in now, I think he’d be able to adapt very well, especially being at a boarding school. I think the transition would be easy for him. I know he thinks highly of the coaching staff. He loves the environment there. He thinks he could definitely thrive there.”

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