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Notre Dame Football

Film Don't Lie | DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste

January 13, 2023
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Notre Dame has been looking for someone to add to the competition at defensive end and people were starting to wonder if they were going to find it in the transfer portal. Things have been quiet.

But much like the situation with safety Thomas Harper, Notre Dame’s staff proved they were putting in work without much attention. They just added a commitment from former Ohio State defensive Javontae Jean-Baptiste.

A player who was in OSU’s defensive line rotation, Jean-Baptiste should be able to step right into Notre Dame’s rotation and compete to start for the Irish.

What he can do

Jean-Baptiste has eight career sacks, but four of them came last season. He’s a plus pass rusher who has great twitch and he has the ability to turn the corner.

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He simply has some athletic traits that most edge rushers don’t have and Notre Dame can certainly use more of. He can finish.

via GIPHY

He had a 16% pass rush win rate on all pass rushes in 2022 and a 26.5% win rate on true pass sets (no screens, quick game, RPOs, etc) according to PFF. He had the 15th best true pass rush grade as an edge rusher in the Power 5 last season.

He flashes some explosive lateral movement and overall can be a difficult for slow footed tackles to handle in pass protection, but what it’s his motor that really jumps out. He plays hard and doesn’t quit.

via GIPHY

That’s not just evident as a pass rusher either. It’s obvious in pursuit against the run as well. There aren’t many edge defenders who display this kind of effort to chase down this play.

via GIPHY

What he’s not

He’s much better in pursuit than he is at the point of attack versus the run. He can be inconsistent with his hands with his initial punch off the ball.

Though he has legitimately exciting athletic traits as a pass rusher, his rush can be a bit out of control at times. He’s undisciplined in his rush lane and has to be careful not to get caught out of position against mobile quarterbacks.

Where he projects

He’s going to play defensive end for Notre Dame and not Vyper. He backed up Zach Harrison at Ohio State and if he wasn’t stuck behind a player like him, he would have played a lot more than he did.

What I saw from him last season was good enough to start at most Power 5 programs. He’s going to be in the mix to start at Notre Dame. At the very least, he can get into the rotation and add depth, but he may be someone who can play a bigger role to allow Rylie Mills to play more snaps inside as a 3-technique defensive tackle.

Jean-Baptiste should also be a contender to play on 3rd downs with Notre Dame’s sub-package personnel.

This is a nice pickup for Notre Dame at a position where they needed some help. He’s a player who has the talent to contribute and with more opportunities, I believe he has a chance to be much more productive than he was at Ohio State.

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