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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Trainer | New Notre Dame Commit Aiden Gobaira A "Swiss Army Knife"

February 6, 2021

Sudan Ellington points to “attention to detail” as one of Aiden Gobaira’s greatest strengths.

“Some will call him a perfectionist,” says Ellington, founder of Big Skills Academy, where the 2022 Virginia defensive end trains.

“He just wants to get better. He has a high tolerance of just, 'Coach, did I do it right? Did I step right?' He's so detailed in his development.”

Ellington, who played football and basketball at Tennessee before completing his career at James Madison, says that’s what attracted his staff to Gobaira and it’s likely one of the traits that attracted Notre Dame to Gobaira as well.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder announced his commitment to the Irish on Saturday afternoon following a visit to South Bend earlier in the week.

Ellington says Notre Dame is getting “a hard worker.”

“He's not really caught up in social media or the media,” says Ellington. “He just wants to be better for his team and better for himself.

“So, he's very self-motivated and he loves ball. You're going to get a high-energy guy that loves the game and loves playing with the teammates that he'll eventually develop close relationships with.”

Gobaira is listed as a defensive end, but Ellington believes he could also play linebacker.

“I really feel like it's both,” says Ellington. “For outside linebacker, he has the quickness to play in the flat and he also loves the pass rush, but he's so gritty that he can set the edge as well. So, he shows up in the run game. I mean, you're kind of getting a Swiss Army knife with him.”

The Chantilly High School standout has added weight in the offseason and Ellington is excited about the continuation of that process.

“I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what a year in college, what a year of weightlifting would do to his body,” he says.

Through Ellington, Gobaira has had the opportunity to train with highly-touted 2022 Virginia offensive lineman Zach Rice, who is also a top Irish target.

“For us, going up against any competition, we call it life lessons,” Ellington explains. “What did I learn about myself and what did I learn about my opponent?

“And so, when him and Zach are going against each other in our sessions, it's more of a teaching tool, but we let them go live one-on-one so they can feel each other's energy.”

Ellington notes that if Gobaira makes a great move to get past Rice during one-on-ones, he’ll suggest a small tweak to what Rice is doing.

“I won't say anything to Aiden and I want to see can Aiden pick up on the subtle difference that I put in Zach,” he explains. “So, it’s just a ying and a yang. They kind of bounce off each other, learn from each other.

“It's never really a competition. We're just learning from each other and I'm just kind of facilitating the lessons that are being taught that day.”

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