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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame the Early Leader for 2026 DL Braeden Jones

April 30, 2024

2026 Mount Carmel (Ill.) defensive lineman Braeden Jones‍ made the drive to Canton on Sunday for the Under Armour Camp and he left a solid impression on most in attendance. 

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder showcased the ability to win on the inside and outside with his length and power. 

“I definitely went against some good competition,” Jones stated following the camp. I feel great going into next season, and I’m excited.” 

Notre Dame offered Jones in March and the Chicago native made multiple trips to South Bend this spring for practice. In addition to the offer, head coach Marcus Freeman and defensive line coach Al Washington have made positive impressions. 

“It’s definitely in my backyard, so I love it,” explained Jones. “Coach Freeman and Coach Washington are always talking to me, so I wanted to get down there as much as possible." 

If the trips for practice weren’t enough, Jones was a late addition to the Blue-Gold Game visitor list. 

“It was a last-minute thing,” stated Jones. “I didn’t expect to go, but they told me around Tuesday and I had to. It’s always great to see a game at Notre Dame, especially knowing they are on national TV. They packed the house.” 

What’s the message from Notre Dame? 

“’We really want you,’” Jones said. “I appreciate the love from them. I could see them in my future. They’ve come to the school and we talk on the phone. It’s always great to talk to them.

“They’re recruiting me pretty hard. They told me I’m No. 1 in the 2026 class. They’re pushing for me hard and I really like the school.”

It won’t come as a surprise following the visits and the communication, but Jones has Notre Dame standing out early in his recruitment. 

“They’re definitely No. 1,” said Jones. “SEC schools are great, but Notre Dame is still a prestigious school and makes a bunch of great defensive linemen. I just love it there.” 

That said, Jones isn’t in a hurry to make a decision as he’s looking to see what other programs offer in the coming months.

This summer, Jones expects to visit Louisville and Tennessee while also camping at Ohio State, as he wants to earn an offer from the Buckeyes. 

“Not as of right now,” Jones said of the chances of committing in the near future. “I’m going to keep letting them come. If I get something I like, then maybe, if I don’t, then Notre Dame and the SEC schools are up top for me.”  

Jones has also seen similarities between his high school and Notre Dame, which could be an added plus if he ends up in South Bend. 

“I would say Mount Carmel is very similar to Notre Dame prestigious-wise and football-wise,” said Jones. “With the way Mount Carmel is, they stay on their players about grades. It wouldn’t be too much of a change.” 

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