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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | Jason Onye "Perfect Fit" For Notre Dame

May 7, 2020

Bishop Hendricken High School head coach Keith Croft spoke with Jason Onye‍ on the eve of the 2021 Rhode Island defensive end’s commitment to Notre Dame.

“I asked him last night, ‘Why Notre Dame?’” Croft said on Thursday morning. “He said, ‘It’s just a really good fit for me. It reminds me a lot of Bishop Hendricken. It’s the same type of school, a small, Catholic school with a lot of morals, strong academic program.’

“He talked about that stuff before he even mentioned football.”

Croft says, “This is his decision and his family’s decision and there were certainly schools we were more than comfortable.”

But he agrees the fit with Notre Dame was difficult to ignore.

“You’re getting a kid with a tremendous amount of upside who I think realizes his potential,” he said of Onye, who just made his announcement public. “He’s going to be a hard worker and a model citizen. He’s a class act. He’s a kid I think is a perfect fit for Notre Dame.”

Croft says Notre Dame fans should be excited because he is confident Brian Kelly, Mike Elston and the Irish will put Onye in positions to succeed.

“They should expect a kid who likes to get after the quarterback,” said Croft. “Notre Dame has recruited well on the defensive line and I think they’re going to have the ability to put Jason in areas that suit his strengths, which are getting off the quarterback, playing sideline to sideline and using his athleticism.

“The good thing about Jason is I still think he has so much upside, when he gets into a college weightlifting program year-round. I still don’t think we know his full potential because he can get so much bigger and stronger. Right now, he’s right up there, but I think he’ll continue to grow. He’ll continue to get bigger. I know it sounds crazy, but I think he can grow into his frame even more.”

The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Onye is the latest Bishop Hendricken standout to go big-time, following 2019 offensive lineman Xavier Truss, who is now playing at Georgia, and defensive end Kwity Paye, who is standout at Michigan.

“It’s very, very humbling,” says Croft. “If we played a small part in that, I’m happy. I’m happy for the kids and their family.

“I was talking to my father last night and I said, ‘To think where we are, to have kids playing at Notre Dame, Michigan and Georgia and all of the other kids we have playing at I-AA and Division II and Division III schools.’ When we took over the program 10, 15 years ago, I’ve got to be honest, it never crossed our imagination.

“You think of Rhode Island, it’s such a small state and these things don’t happen. I think it’s a testament to our coaches and kids. We’ve challenged them from the beginning to think a lot bigger than Rhode Island. We’ve told them we can compete with other states. We show that by scheduling out-of-state teams. There’s a lot of talent in Rhode Island. The talent has gotten better and I think the coaching in Rhode Island is right up there with a lot of other states. It’s surreal and kind of tough to put into perspective.”

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