Notre Dame Class Of 2017: Defensive Capsules
Norfolk, Va. (Lake Taylor HS)
Recruitment Recap: Ewell was considered an Ohio State lean early in the process and some didn’t think much of the the Irish after an April offer. However, things started to change after the Virginia native went on a Midwest swing of visits to Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Ewell feel in love with the campus and the opportunities that awaited him in South Bend over the next three weeks and committed to the Irish on July 15th.
Uyeyama Comments: Others have Ewell ranked higher than I do. I imagine they do because he is a physical specimen who looks like he is already a year or two into playing in a college program. He looks strong and he plays that way too.
I don't see that being a hurdle for him and earning playing time next season. With some depth issues at one technique, the opportunity will be there too. I think really needs to improve his snap anticipation and consistency with his pad level if he is going to have a chance at playing. In the long term those are things he can improve and if he does, then I could see him eating up a bunch of double teams for the Irish one day.
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Central Catholic HS)
Senior Stats: 42 tackles and 12 sacks
Recruitment Recap: Hinish received his offer in February of 2016 and visited campus less than a month later for Junior Day. Two days later, the Pittsburgh native made his pledge to the Irish over Penn State. There were rumors Hinish was flirting with Penn State in the fall, but the three-star never visited Happy Valley and has been a cornerstone of the 2017 recruiting class.
Speak: “He’s a big, tough, aggressive kid
with a very high motor. He has a great work ethic, both of them do. They’re
both solid citizens, so I can’t see anything but good things.”
-Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten
Uyeyama Comments: Hinish is undersized and likely always will be. He doesn't have ideal measurables. What he does have is a good first step and a great motor. He consistently plays with good pad level too. Those are big reasons why he has a chance to develop into a quality player at the next level.
I see Hinish as more of a one technique that will compete with Ewell in future years than a three technique. I don't know if he has the lateral movement to excel there. But eventually if he puts on the right amount of weight, I think he can be a solid player at nose guard for the Irish.
DEFENSIVE ENDJonathon MacCollister
Orlando, Fla. (Bishop Moore HS)
Senior Stats: 42 tackles, seven TFL, five sacks and two fumble recoveries in limited action.
Recruitment Recap: It was a non-dramatic recruitment for the Bishop Moore star and it was probably over as soon as he got the offer from Notre Dame. MacCollister had over 30 offers, but it was clear right away he was waiting on one from the Irish. The three-star prospect visited for Irish Invasion and committed almost as soon as he got there. Parker Boudreaux was a former high school teammate and that made MacCollister feel all the more comfortable at Notre Dame.
Speak: “He’s impressive as hell. I think he’s got a lot of potential to
be a productive defensive end at the college level. He’s a very talented and
athletic kid, but also has a good motor. He really loves to play the game and
that’s pretty important.”
-Bishop Moore head coach Matt Hedrick
Uyeyama Comments: MacCollister has intriguing physical traits. He has the kind of body type that is perfectly suited to be a stout edge defender. As someone who plays multiple positions, it's going to be interesting to see how much of a leap he can make once he starts focusing on one side of the ball. I'm also very interested to see how big he is when he gets on campus because he told ISD back in December that he under 230, quite a bit less than the 250 range he weighed when he came to Irish Invasion.
He is a bit tight as an athlete based on what I saw from him in person and I originally thought he might grow into a three technique rather than a defensive end. With limited senior film released and more success at tight end than on the defensive line, he is one of the biggest enigmas in the class. I would expect him to redshirt as a freshman.
Kapolei, Hawaii (Kapolei HS)
Senior Stats: 18 sacks
Recruitment Recap: Notre Dame offered the four-star prospect late in the process, but that didn’t matter in the end, as Tagovailoa-Amosa chose the Irish over USC and Vanderbilt. Brian Polian led the recruiting effort, as he made a trip out to Hawaii shortly after the offer to meet with the defensive end and his family. The family was looking for a fit academically and that’s what Notre Dame showed them on an official visit less than a week before Signing Day.
Coach Speak: “It’s his ability to rush the passer. He also can run people down. He’s very, very quick off the ball. He has long arms, long legs. He has the classic build that you want in a guy who is a defensive end. The beauty about Myron though, at 6-4 and between 260 and 270, he’s not only a pass rusher, but his body is still young.” -Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez
Uyeyama Comments: It's not common that someone who received an offer late in the process ends up as one of my favorites in the class, but that is how I feel about Tagovailoa-Amosa. This kid gets after it. He is physical with advanced hands for his age and has a high motor.
His first step is outstanding and I think it's very likely he ends up getting big enough to play inside at three-technique for the Irish. He could push for playing time immediately if he can physically hold up. He was an awesome get for Notre Dame so late in the process.
Washington, D.C. (St. John’s College HS)
Senior Stats: 84 tackles, 28 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 17 QB hurries.
Recruitment Recap: Another late January offer for Notre Dame, but once again, it simply didn’t matter for the D.C. native. He committed to Maryland back in December, but was open to hearing from other schools in the final weeks. He took official visits to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in the final weeks and in the end, South Bend felt like home for the three-star prospect.
Coach Speak: “His
ceiling is so high. He has so much versatility.
When you see him play, he flashes because you don’t usually see guys who are
that long who can run as well as he does and can bend like he does.”
-St. John’s College defensive line coach Mike Ward
Uyeyama Comments: Wardlow has not played a ton of football. He is only two years into the game and not surprisingly he is very raw. He really needs to develop his punch and a consistency with his get off from play to play. He's going to need some time to develop on the field.
The reason why he is worth taking a risk on is that he is the right kind of frame to get much bigger and he moves really well for someone his size. He flashes some great lateral quickness and he plays very hard too. It might take awhile before he makes an impact, but it will be fun to see where he is at in year or two.
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Central Catholic HS)
Senior Stats: 100 tackles, seven sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Recruitment Recap: It was a non-dramatic recruitment for the four-star linebacker. Adams picked up his Notre Dame offer in September of 2015 after visiting unofficially in August with a few teammates. It was clear Notre Dame was the dream school for Adams and a day after a Junior Day visit to South Bend, the Pittsburgh native committed to the Irish over Penn State, Pitt, Michigan State and over 20 other programs.
Coach Speak: “He’s a throwback type of linebacker. He’s a very
aggressive middle linebacker. He wants to get you on the ground. He’s got
enough athletic ability to cover side to side and play in coverage, but he is a
great run-stopper, a downhill kid.”
-Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten
Uyeyama Comments: Adams is an old-school Mike linebacker. He is very physical against the inside run and does a nice job reading his keys. There is no doubt he has the kind of toughness needed to succeed at the next level as evidenced by him playing through a shoulder injury that required surgery during his senior season.
There is going to be a lot of competition at inside linebacker the next few years and he needs to win by being in the right place at all times in coverage because he is a bit stiff with his change of direction. If matched up against superior athletes one on one, he may struggle unless his route recognition is at the highest level. His rehab means a redshirt year is likely in his future, but he could be in the mix to replace Nyles Morgan after he graduates.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
Senior Stats: 107 tackles and four blocked punts.
Recruitment Recap: It’s hard to fly somewhat under the radar in Florida, much less at one of the nation’s top programs, but that’s exactly what White did. The four-star linebacker knew where he wanted to go and once he got his Notre Dame offer on a Junior Day visit, White gave his commitment to the Irish days later. Despite having offers from LSU, Michigan and Ohio State, White never came close to flirting with another program.
Coach Speak: “As Drew acclimates to the Notre Dame culture during his freshman year, I'm confident that he'll make a positive impact and represent God, his family, and the Fighting Irish with great effort and pride.
“Drew possesses extraordinary potential. He's been blessed with
multiple talents. His spiritual, intellectual, social, and athletic skill sets
will enable to meet expectations on and off the field while at Notre Dame. He's
gifted with innate, sustainable leadership traits that are conducive to team
camaraderie and modeling holistic values and virtues.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Roger Harriott
Uyeyama Comments: Not many talked about White during the year as one of Notre Dame's top commits in this class, but I see him in that way. His ability to diagnose plays in an instant and his overall instincts on the field are elite. That and above average athleticism allows him to make a ton of plays in the backfield.
He isn't going to find time as a regular in his first season because of the veterans in front of him on the depth chart, but I would be surprised if he isn't a definite contender to start in 2018. I think we could see him block a kick or make an impact play or two on special teams as a freshman.
Hampton, Va. (Bethel HS)
Recruitment Recap: Notre Dame gave the four-star prospect an offer in January and immediately shot up to the top of the list for the Virginia commit. Brian Kelly made a trip to Bethel and shortly before a decommitment came from Owusu-Koramoah. The Virginia native chose the Irish over Virginia and Michigan State.
Uyeyama Comments: There might not be a more ideal fit to play Rover than Owusu-Koramoah. In many other schemes he could be seen as a tweener. In Mike Elko's, they should nickname him the Baby Bear (because he's justttttt right).
He's a phenomenal blitzer and is instinctive in coverage. He needs to improve his recognition skills versus the run, but he has the kind of speed to make plays all over the field. He isn't someone I expect to play from day one other than on special teams. I do think that he could end up being a big time player in a couple of years if he develops like he should.
San Diego, Calif. (Cathedral Catholic HS)
Recruitment Recap: Notre Dame had always been Genmark Heath’s dream school and when the Irish offered, it wasn’t a surprised to see him immediately get to campus. Genmark Heath had all his thoughts confirmed while on the visit and flipped his commitment from Cal to Notre Dame less than a week after his visit.
Coach Speak: "As a player, he’s physical, downhill, real good size for a safety. He runs well. He can really play both sides of the ball. We’re a one-way team, about 99 percent of our kids go one way. He’s one of the few kids who played both ways for us. He’s just a handful on offense.“He’s athletic. He really could play any position. He just fit into our needs more at the free safety position...As a young man, he’s absolutely unbelievable.”
-Cathedral Catholic head coach Sean Doyle
Uyeyama Comments: Another late get in the process, Genmark Heath is more than just a number to fill out the back end of the roster. This is a long, physical football player that could play strong safety or grow into a Rover in Mike Elko's defense.
He moves easy for someone 205 pounds. I have some questions about his top end speed as a deep safety, but if he ends up as a box defender that blitzes often then it won't be as much of a concern going forward. I think he is going to develop into a solid contributor. I could see move ahead of some of the safeties who signed with the Irish in 2016.
Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley HS)
Recruitment Recap: Robertson visited Notre Dame for Junior Day last January and it was easy to see he would be Irish if they offered. The four-star prospect showed patience and on another unofficial visit in April, Robertson got his offer. Less than two weeks later, Robertson committed to the Irish and hasn’t looked back, as he is currently taking classes at Notre Dame.
Speak: “He’s a tremendous athlete, everybody knows that, but he’s a
great leader. I think he’s going to be a great leader for Notre Dame down the
road…He’s a great offensive weapon, but what he brings defensively and how well
he reads the quarterback and the speed at which he plays defense will help
tremendously. He’s got a knack for finding the ball defensively. He’s a great
-Neuqua Valley head coach Bill Ellinghaus
Uyeyama Comments: For someone who was seen as more of a receiver earlier in the process, Robertson brings a physical edge to the game that would be welcome in Notre Dame's secondary. I considered him more of a tweener that didn't have a true fit prior to his senior season, but he won me over with what I saw from him last fall.
He's a good enough athlete to play deep and split the field. Considering his work at receiver, it's no shock he has great ball skills too. I think he is going to have a shot to earn playing time early with him being on campus already. He is near the top of my list of players to watch this spring and could find himself in the two deep this fall.
Charlotte, N.C. (South Mecklenburg HS)
Recruitment Recap: Doerer was set on Maryland, the school he committed to back in July, but when Brian Polian came calling in the final days of the process, he had to check it out. Doerer took an official visit to South Bend the final weekend before National Signing Day and only hours later, he flipped from the Terrapins to the Irish.
Coach Speak: “He’s got 55, 60 yard-range. There’s no kick in a game that is out of his range. That’s one of his strengths, he’s got tremendous power and strength. Kickoff-wise, he’s dominant. That would be his strength. He crushes kickoffs. He’d be the type of kid who could come in as a freshman and give you at least 70, 80 percent touchbacks without blinking. Kickoff-wise, he’s really strong.”
-Chris Sailer of Chris Sailer Kicking