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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Fall Camp Preview | Defensive End

July 15, 2022

The apex of edge rushers for Notre Dame was the 2019 season. Saying the Irish were loaded at defensive end would be an understatement.

Five defensive ends from that team ended up on NFL rosters. Four of them were drafted. They even had two of those players go down with season ending injuries and they were still formidable enough to not burn a redshirt from Isaiah Foskey.

He’ll make it five from that group who were drafted when he is selected by an NFL team next spring, but for now, Notre Dame fans get to enjoy another season of strip sacks by him.

Expectations were high for Foskey coming into the season, but they were tempered after a camp where he didn’t exactly dominate. In hindsight that might have had more to do with how good Blake Fisher was rather than a knock against Foskey.

He’ll be battling Fisher and Joe Alt again in camp and if Foskey is getting the better of those two, then he may be on track for an even better season than the one he had last year.

Justin Ademilola had a breakout year in many respects in 2021. He earned a spot rushing the passer on 3rd down and was fairly effective. If he continues on that upward trajectory, then it would do a lot to take away all of the extra attention from protection schemes that Foskey is sure to receive.

Ademilola always delivers with effort on the field. What I’m looking for from him this August is more consistency so the difference between him and Foskey at Vyper becomes smaller.

The Irish moved two Vypers, Jordan Botelho and Will Schweitzer, to linebacker. Kahanu Kia is currently on a Mormon mission so that leaves Joshua Burnham as the only other Vyper.

The blue-chip linebacker recruit has a lot of skills that should translate well to that spot so a move wasn’t unexpected. He has star potential. It will be interesting to see where Burnham is physically with his weight and strength this summer because he’s most likely in line to redshirt unless he proves that is already prepared for a role at a new position.

If he still has a long way to go, I don’t believe the staff would hesitate to move Botelho there and we may still see him rush the passer off the edge this fall.

Rylie Mills made the move to the other end in the spring and it makes sense with the crowded depth chart at 3-tech. This gives Mills a chance to earn a starting spot and he’ll likely be there to start against Ohio State provided he performs well in camp.

Much like Khalid Kareem and Ade Ogundeji, Mills is likely going to be rushing the passer from the interior on 3rd downs. That’s where he made his biggest impact both in the Blue-Gold game and against Virginia last fall.

NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Alex Ehrensberger both had some nice flashes in the spring that suggest that the depth should be better than expected. Last year it was noticeable in a bad way when Myron Tagovaiola-Amosa was not on the field at end on early downs and Notre Dame needs for that not to be an issue again this season.

If one of them steps up and is pushing Mills for playing time, that would be great news for the Irish. It could end up being both.

There’s a lot to be excited about with Aiden Goibara and his future. We’ll find out if the future is now for him and if getting on campus as an early enrollee puts him in a position to jump the line at end.

I wouldn’t bet that he is going to be a rotation guy this season, but he’s on the list of freshmen with the kind of talent who could surprise some people in camp. Men’s Branded Heather Gray Throwback Helmet Shirt

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