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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2024 Notre Dame DE Target Benedict Umeh A "Genetic Freak"

December 31, 2022

Jon Wholley was on Twitter when his wife first caught a glance of Benedict Umeh‍ on her husband’s phone.

“She was next to me and she goes, 'Is that one of the kids you train to get ready for the NFL or for preseason camp?'” the head coach of Avon Old Farms recalls.

“I said, 'No, he's coming to Avon.'”

After a season with Wholley at the prep school in Connecticut, the junior from Canada has started to see the offers roll in.

“He's a genetic freak from the standpoint of size,” says Wholley. “He's 6-5 and he's 260 pounds and doesn't have any fat on his body. He looks like he's the Under Armour mannequin. That starts off for one.

“On top of a great physique and physical makeup, he's also got a lot of speed, explosion, strength and some natural instincts from a football standpoint.”

This past season was Umeh’s first full season playing football. He played four games for West Toronto Prep in 2021 and focused on track

“He has natural instincts and techniques playing from a d-line standpoint, particularly versus the run that most kids don't have,” Wholley says.

Umeh started wrestling this winter. After losing three of his first four matches during a scrimmage, he opened up the regular season with three straight wins.

“He kind of learned how to wrestle in a week,” Wholley laughs. “He's going to get a couple TKOs before the thing starts, some guys are going to go, 'Nah, I'm all set.'”

Off the field – and the mat – Wholley calls Umeh “an outstanding kid.”

Umeh has already been named a team captain for 2023 along with Georgia quarterback commit Ryan Puglisi and safety KeShawn Adams.

“He's got great grades, he's a great student and he's an all honors classes and he is a leader in our community,” the coach continues. “Our head of school works with him with leadership in anticipation and hope that he runs for and is potentially elected as the warden of our school because he's got that type of leadership and ability.

“I think all those things make him obviously a can't-miss prospect specifically for a school like Notre Dame.”

Wholley said Notre Dame is “100 percent” the type of school Umeh will be looking at seriously.

Umeh’s current offer sheet includes schools like Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Iowa, Wake Forest and Rutgers among others.

“The elite football schools, and then the high academic, probably Harvard, Princeton, Yale,” he said. “I think he'll actually look at least to start and then obviously Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, Penn State because it's around here. I'm sure Alabama and Georgia aren't going to say, 'I don't want to look at that.’

“I do think the Notre Dames and the USCs and the Michigans stand higher just because of how good they are academically.”

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