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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DE Justin Ademilola Preparing for Big 2021

April 8, 2021

Notre Dame defensive end Justin Ademilola showed flashes in 2018 and 2019, but also showed patience in waiting for his time. 

It might have been challenging waiting for his time, but Ademilola understood those in front of him had been in his situation and embraced following in their footsteps. 

"Over the years, I learned to keep my head down and continue to work," Ademilola said. "I was behind guys like Julian (Okwara), Khalid (Kareem), Ade (Ogundeji) and Daelin (Hayes) and they just told me to keep working every day. Stack your successful days and just get one percent better every day, so that's what I've been doing." 

Ademilola could have grown frustrated with the lack of playing time, especially looking over and seeing his twin, Jayson, starting on the interior of the Irish defense. 

That wasn't the case for Ademilola, as he was always his brother's biggest supporter, but he also kept working to define himself as a player.

"I know we're twins, but we don't really compare ourselves to each other," explained Ademilola. "For me, I'm trying to prove myself right that I'm supposed to be here and I'm grinding every day working to be on top. I know what type of player I am.

"When I'm on the field, people know what type of player I am." 

Part of Ademilola's growth was preparing like a starter. Ademilola studied film and asked questions like he was starting. It allowed him to be ready and it showed in 2020.

Ademilola recorded 16 tackles and one sack last fall, but his impact was felt in other areas. 

6-foot-2, 254-pounder logged 224 snaps and was Notre Dame graded out as the 14th best player on defense according to PFF. You can even make that number improve if you take out players who played less than 150 snaps, as Ademilola would have been No. 10. 

"I'm always prepared," stated Ademilola. "I really get in the film room and always ask my coaches questions about different sets and formations. When I'm on the field, it's just go time for me, whether that's 20, 25, or 30 snaps. I pride myself on being prepared and ready to work when I'm out there."

In 2021, Hayes and Ogundeji are gone and Ademilola will share snaps with senior Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, who moves over to the big end from three-tech. 

"It's been awesome getting the opportunity to work with Myron," said Ademilola. "We're both playing defensive end this year and it's going to be a crazy 1-1, 1A, 1B punch right there. Stay tuned for that one." 

And no, Ademilola isn't salty about sharing the load as he views it as a positive. 

"When you have guys that all know the scheme, all play fast and bring effort and physicality to the point of attack - we're trying to get as many guys as we can in Coach Elston's defense on the field," Ademilola said. "We're all fresh, ready to go and ready to make plays. 

"If you got one, two, three, four guys that know the system, they're all going to get on the field." 

Ademilola might be in line for a more significant role this fall, but he still carries a small chip on his shoulder. 

"I guess you can say I was a little underrated in high school," said Ademilola. "I just let my tape speak for itself. If people think I'm under the radar this year or in the shadows, you guys are going to feel me this year on the field." 

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