Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Day 1 AAB | East Practice | Notre Dame Highlights & Notes

January 3, 2023

SAN ANTONIO – Some quick thoughts after watching the East’s first practice of the week down here for the All-American Bowl.

Getting to see New Jersey safety Adon Shuler‍ in person a couple times during his career at Irvington High School allowed me to see a big, strong athlete truly stick out amongst his peers. Seeing the Notre Dame signee in person as a high-schooler made it easy to see why Chris O’Leary and the Irish made him a top target early in the cycle.

Seeing Shuler down here amongst those who will be his peers on the next level has allowed me to see him in a different light. Shuler belongs down here.

While his size, speed and athleticism may not be as eye-popping when surrounded by similar talents, he was more than competitive on Day 1. He moves very well for his size regardless of who he’s being compared to.

Shuler is listed at 6-0 and 200 pounds. ISD expert Jamie Uyeyama summed up Shuler succinctly today, when he said Shuler looked “well put together.”

The other thing that stuck out when being around Shuler in person earlier in the cycle was how mature and humble he is. That too was on display down here Day 1.

Shuler’s high school coach, Smoke Pierre, is coaching the East’s defensive backs. That added familiarity certainly allows him to pick up the drills and calls easier and he’s gone out of his way to help his fellow East defensive backs.

But it’s gone way beyond that.

Shuler is quite simply a nice kid who wants to help people, which is probably why it may have been best that he was the one to deliver the biggest hit of the day when he crashed into a receiver while patrolling his zone.

On the other hand, this was my first time seeing Irish defensive end signee Brenan Vernon‍ in person.

I know a lot of people were eager to see what Vernon looked like from a physical standpoint and he certainly passed the eye test.

Listed at 6-5, 275 pounds, he doesn’t look like the kind of kid who took any sort of break over the holidays and probably looks even better than he did during the fall.

He’ll certainly add weight when he gets to Notre Dame, but that process will be accelerated by the fact that he doesn’t have much – if any – bad weight to shed first.

Another thing that stood out was the tenacity with which he attacked the drills. He wasn’t going through the motions by any means. I said it earlier, but Vernon definitely has the edge required to be a standout defensive lineman.

He looked the part of a leader as well, going first in each drill, asking enough questions to make sure he knew what to do correctly while also picking everything up rather quickly. He also went out of his way to consistently remind the defensive line group to act as a single unit.

He showed a quick-get off and good hands during pass rush drills while displaying a good balance of patience and aggression during run drills.

It was difficult not to compare Vernon to one-time Notre Dame commit Keon Keeley‍ with them in the same, relatively small group.

Keeley’s arms are a little longer than Vernon’s and they’re certainly different players who will play different positions, but it was impossible not to watch them next to each other and not come away impressed with Vernon. 

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