Story Poster
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Uyeyama's Favorite 2022 ND Targets | Defense

March 3, 2021

There is no doubt Marcus Freeman has made an instant impact on the recruiting trail for Notre Dame. He closed quickly with a blue-chip defensive lineman, Tyson Ford‍, after only a few weeks on the job and he’s built positive momentum for other top targets since then.

Even without recruits able to visit campus, everything appears to be trending in the direction to make this one of the best defensive classes Notre Dame has signed in the last decade.

With that in mind, I’ve circled six of my favorite targets on defense that I feel would be great additions to the class.

LB Sebastian Cheeks‍ 

There is limited game film of Cheeks available because of an injury and not having yet played a junior season in Illinois, but his explosiveness jumps off the screen. He’s a dynamic blitzer and does a great job of getting skinny and knifing into the backfield.


Cam McGrone would be my comp for Cheeks, but I think he can be better in coverage in college than McGrone has been so far.

DB Sherrod Covil Jr.‍ 

Another player with less film because his junior season was delayed in Virginia, Covil Jr. can be a chess piece in a college defense that a defensive coordinator can move around the board. I think he’s a Rover in Notre Dame’s scheme, but he can play deep as well.

He reminds me a lot of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with the way he hits through people as a tackler, how he can match up in man coverage, and his overall versatility.


LB Joshua Burnham‍ 

Can you tell I’m a fan of the versatile second level defenders in this class? If it wasn’t obvious before, it should be with my next favorite, linebacker Joshua Burnham.

He’s a modern day athlete at linebacker who has played everything from running back to quarterback on offense. He brings violence as a tackler, does a great job working through the trash against the inside run, and has the instincts and ball skills to thrive in coverage.


He’s long, twitchy, and an outstanding pure football player. My comp for him is former Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

DE DJ Wesolak‍ 

Wesolak is raw with his hands and inconsistent with his leverage, but his upside is tremendous. That’s because he has an awesome frame (6’10” wingspan) and his get off is impressive.

The tools are there for him to be special and the motor is why I think he can get there. He could start out as a Vyper, but has the potential to slide over to be a big end once he physically develops.


I don’t know if he’s quite the same athlete in terms of testing numbers, but Wesolak reminds me of Penn State edge Jayson Oweh with a lot more grit.

S Jake Pope‍ 

There’s a reason why Pope has earned offers from Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State. He can flat out ball.

He does a great job sinking his hips and driving on the football. A strong tackler who is adept at defeating blocks, his recognition playing the perimeter screen game is one of his strengths.


He’s a prospect with a high floor. I see a lot of former Washington safety Taylor Rapp in Pope’s game.

S Kevin Winston‍ 

I mentioned Winston in 6 Thoughts last week. I feel he is extremely underrated compared to his national ranking. He’s long, has tremendous acceleration to the football, and has the skills to match up well in man to man against tight ends.

His ball skills and ability to finish in coverage put him over the top as a great prospect for me.


I like Winston as a strong safety and former Alabama Ronnie Harrison is someone I would compare Winston to as a prospect.

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.