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Notre Dame Football

Charles Jagusah will be next “future great offense lineman” at Notre Dame

December 24, 2023
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Charles Jagusah was the top-ranked prospect Notre Dame signed a year ago, but few expected him to contribute as a freshman.

“He's got natural ability,” coach Marcus Freeman said. “We noticed that in recruiting. We noticed that when he got here. There was just not a need at that moment for him to play for us, right? We had a pretty good left tackle that started for us all year. (in All-American Joe Alt).”

When ISD spoke to Jagusah in May, he thought he might be limited until October due to off-season surgery to repair a torn PCL and a partial ACL sprain. 

Yet he was still ready to go during fall camp, but then the staff had him play both guard and tackle during the season as he continued to work back toward 100% health.

“I’d say most of the season I was doing tackle stuff, just trying to get my knee right,” Jagusah said. “Then, towards the end of the year, with Rocco going down and a couple of other people being banged up, they moved me to guard just to take some reps as a backup just in case, but I’d say most of the year I was doing tackle stuff.”

So, it’s still a bit of a surprise the 6-foot-6, 325-pound emerged as the start left tackle for the Sun Bowl.

He did so during the early weeks of bowl prep, once veterans Joe Alt and Blake Fisher sat out to prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft.

“I’d say foot quickness because I’m more confident in pushing off my knee,” Jagusah said. “My hand play has gotten better, but it’s still something I need to work on a lot over the next however many days we have until the game. It’s going to be a big focus for me in the offseason, too.”

Ultimately, he shined protecting new starting quarterback Steve Angeli’s blindside. 

Despite his youth, he’s exhibited solid hand placement, shocking agility for his size and the power to move veteran defensive lineman off their spot. 

“Charles has been awesome,” Angeli said. “(He’s) a guy that steps in as a young guy but already plays like a vet. He's out there mauling guys, making calls, communicating. He’s a great addition to the left side, and I feel great about him there.” 

Still, given who he's replacing, there’s plenty of pressure on him to perform.

“I think to play up to the standard here, you have to want to be the best,” Jagusah said. “If you’re not trying to be the best at all times, someone else is going to come do your job for you. I think that mentality has been the biggest for me. 

“We’ve had great guys like Joe and Blake to do it here and other guys that have come and done a great job. You want to live up to that standard, but you’re also your own player, so you just have to do the best you can.”

A key to his success facing No. 21 Oregon State will be picking up stunts, requiring the powerful tackle to play with discipline and recognize various defensive fronts designed to confuse him. 

“This team runs a lot of stunts and a lot of different kinds of games,” Jagusah said. “You have to be ready for things to hit you fast and you’re not ready for it. So don’t get too geared up to hit somebody and get blown up from behind. You have to stay focused, remember the things going on around you, check alignment and stuff like that.”

Needless to say, the coaching staff is confident he will perform well in the final game of the season and over the next two to three seasons. 

“He has shown on scout team, he has shown in the bye weeks and the individual drills that he's going to be a future great offense lineman for us,” Freeman said. “Throughout the first couple of practices, we rotated guys at different positions, but he continued to flourish at that left that position and has done a really good job.”

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