Story Poster
Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Football Early Signing Period | Defensive Line

December 21, 2022
3,434

Notre Dame’s defensive line recruiting has taken off over the last six years and 2023 was no different. First-year defensive line coach Al Washington added size and versatility with this group as each signee can play multiple spots along the defensive front. 

DL Devan Houstan‍ 

Ranking
ISD: 91 (four-star)
Composite: 91.25 (four-star)

Vitals
6-5, 270
Saint James Schools (Hagerstown, Maryland)

Recruiter
Al Washington

Recruitment Rundown
Houstan was one of the hottest names on the recruiting circuit last spring as he toured on the country and stacked offers. Michigan, Wake Forest and others gave strong selling points, especially the Wolverines as his older brother played hoops there. At the end of the day, it was the genuineness of Marcus Freeman and Al Washington that separated Notre Dame. 

ISD Expert Jamie Uyeyama
Houstan has the perfect body type that Notre Dame needs inside. He has the frame to put on the weight to be play as a nose, but should be someone who could play at either defensive tackle spot in a four man front.

He’s likely going to need some time to physically and technically develop before he can play a significant role for Notre Dame, but he has the potential to be a quality starter as he progresses in the program.

Favorite ISD Quote
"He's very authentic in what he does. You can tell it's not the used car salesman approach when he talks to you. Coach Washington talks to you as a person and not a product, which is definitely a positive. Recruiting can very easily turn into a business where it takes the fun out of it compared to an actual bond or connection."

Junior Highlights


DL Brenan Vernon‍ 

Ranking
ISD: 92 (four-star)
Composite: 93.86 (four-star)

Vitals
6-5, 239
Mentor (Mentor, Ohio)

Recruiter
Al Washington, Marcus Freeman

Recruitment Rundown
Former Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston got this recruitment rolling in 2019 as Vernon was the first offer extended in the 2023 recruiting class. The four-star prospect was almost always considered a lean to Ohio State, but kept returning to Notre Dame. Vernon made trips to both schools in June of 2021 before committing to Notre Dame in June of 2021. There was absolutely zero drama with his commitment as Vernon has done nothing but lay low since he committed. 

ISD Expert Jamie Uyeyama
Players with his frame and that kind of motor are rare, which is why he could be very good once he develops his game. There are many parts of his game that remind me a lot of current Notre Dame defensive tackle Rylie Mills.

I would project Vernon as someone who will play as a 3-technique defensive tackle or an end if the Irish play three down. My biggest question about him is explosiveness as a pass rusher, but he’s very good at the point of attack and should develop into a quality player versus the run.

Favorite ISD Quote
“The atmosphere and I love the community. It’s not a bigger school. It’s smaller. There’s something about it that I’m starting to grasp.”

Sophomore Highlights


DL Armel Mukam‍ 

Ranking
ISD: 90 (four-star)
Composite: 88.40 (three-star)

Vitals
6-4, 250
Woodberry Forest (Woodberry Forest, Virginia)

Recruiter
Al Washington

Recruitment Rundown
Mukam’s recruitment was quiet. In fact, the ISD four-star wasn’t on most radars until his somewhat of a surprise commitment in August. Mukam committed to Stanford on June 26th, but then flipped his commitment to Notre Dame two months later without ever stepping foot in South Bend. 

ISD Expert Jamie Uyeyama
Notre Dame has signed some projects on the defensive line in recent years and targeted a few others. I would put Mukam in the category of a former target David Ojabo as a raw prospect rather than an Alex Ehrensberger or Jason Onye.

I originally wrote that I thought Mukam was someone that I believe could end up being a 4-star before this cycle is over and after watching his senior year film, that’s where I ranked him.

Consistent twitch can go a long way with any defensive linemen and he’s someone who brings that to the table. If he works hard at the finer points of the game, I could see eventually him leaping over some others on the depth chart for the Irish. He has legitimate NFL potential and has the tools to develop into a starter for Notre Dame.

Favorite ISD Quote
“I knew Notre Dame was going to be a great fit for me when I committed. I was 100 percent sure. And when I left South Bend, I was like, 'Alright, this is really home and I really made the right decision.'”

Senior Highlights


DL Boubacar Traore‍ 

Ranking
ISD: 91 (4-star)
Composite: 93.01 (four-star)

Vitals
6-4, 250
Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Massachusetts)

Recruiter
Al Washington

Recruitment Rundown
Traore made a super early commitment to Boston College in August of 2020 and remained solid to the Eagles until the winter of 2022. The four-star prospect backed off his commitment in March and then visited South Bend in April. A day later, Traore joined the class a day later. 

ISD Expert Jamie Uyeyama
Traore has the physical and athletic traits to develop into a disruptive interior pass rusher for the Irish. The length, flexibility, and motor are all pluses and he has the potential to be outstanding once he adds more moves to his pass rush arsenal.

Notre Dame is now getting to the point where they are loading up at the position, so snaps are going to be difficult to earn over the next few years, but he has NFL potential. He should be physically ready to compete early during his college career.

Favorite ISD Quote
“They really think I can fit in their defense and things like that. They really have a great coaching staff that's able to bring great players in.”

Sophomore Highlights

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Tortugas Logo Quarter-Zip

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