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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DL Rylie Mills Enters 2022 Bigger, Faster and Hungry

August 14, 2022

Notre Dame defensive linemen have built a strong resume of versatility in recent years and junior Rylie Mills is next. 

The 6-foot-5, 292-pounder has played most of his career on the inside, but this fall, Mills will bump out to the edge in Al Golden’s defense similar to Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa a year ago. 

"It's definitely a little bit different, but you have to bring the same mentality,” Mills said. “I'm out there trying to play my base technique and do everything as good as I can." 

Mills is up nine pounds of muscle from last fall and he admits it wasn’t planned, but he’s not opposed to it either. 

"It really just happened naturally,” laughed Mills. “I really didn't plan on it, but I think as I've worked this summer, it's just where my body has gone. I've lost body fat and feel as quick as I've ever been. It's been good." 

The Illinois native getting quicker could b a nightmare for offensive tackles as it’s likely MIlls will be the biggest end they’ll see in 2022. Yet, Mills hopes to catch a few offensive linemen off guard with his athleticism. 

Well, Mills did catch the Virginia offensive line by surprise last year as he recorded two sacks in the game he played off the edge in 2021. 

"I think my overall athleticism,” Mills said of his growth this offseason. “I've always been a strong guy, but I've really been working on my speed. It's just one of those things that when I get out there, I want to be fast." 

Now, Mills will likely be a player Golden and defensive line coach Al Washington can use in a variety of roles given his history on the interior of the line. 

Golden’s scheme will have NFL pieces to it, which will likely allow Mills to get favorable matchups. 

"It allows me to be free and play ball,” stated Mills of Golden’s scheme. “The biggest thing Coach Golden preaches is just being versatile at the next level, so I just want to do as much as  I can." 

Washington’s presence in the defensive line room has also been a welcome addition. 

Mills can feel an added focus on having a true brotherhood in the room and it’s led to accountability within the entire defensive line unit. 

“Every day we're getting out there and we're working,” Mills said. “Coach Wash is the most passionate coach I've been around. Every day, we work on getting better with every drill and indy period. We're working.

"Everyone is coaching each other up. No one has an ego here. We're all working as hard as we can. That's what's great across the defensive line. We're trying to help the young guys and each other be as good as we can be." 

Notre Dame’s offensive line is also adding some fire to the defensive line on the practice field as Harry Hiestand brought back the intensity the Irish may have lacked a year ago. 

“I have to give a big shoutout to Coach Hiestand and the offensive line because every day, we're battling out there,” stated Mills. “We're giving it our best.

"It's just the mentality. They come out every day to blow us off the ball. We have to bring our A-game. Iron sharpens iron and that's the best part of going out there." 

And despite the improved offensive line play, Mills also wanted to make it clear who was winning the majority of those battles. 

"I feel like the defensive line has that."

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