Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Commit NaNa Osafo-Mensah Leading The Way For Nolan Catholic

November 7, 2018
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NaNa Osafo-Mensah’s play on the field and leadership in the locker room are major reasons why Nolan Catholic High School has already clinched a district championship while sporting an 8-1 record, but the Vikings probably wouldn’t be where they are if the star Texas defensive end drew up their practice plans.

“If we practiced the way he wanted, we wouldn’t have any guys left,” Nolan Catholic head coach David Beaudin laughs.

Beaudin says the 2019 Notre Dame commit is “definitely” Nolan Catholic’s leader.

“He holds other guys accountable, holds young guys accountable, but does it in such a mature, positive way,” Beaudin explains. “He demands effort, he challenges the coaches every day. He wants to be coached, he wants to be coached hard and he also wants to practice hard every day.”

Maybe too hard sometimes.

“He wants to be in full pads every day,” Beaudin adds. “If it was up to him, we’d go full pads Monday through Thursday.

“I have a ton of respect for it as a football player. As the head coach, I have to temper that sometimes just for the overall well-being of the team. As a coach, you have to love that kind of player. That’s what you want and dream for.”

Osafo-Mensah backs up the talk with his actions.

“He jumps in on scout team and goes 1,000 miles per hour because he’s always working on his craft,” says Beaudin. “He shows the other guys that every rep matters whether it’s our stuff or scout team prep. He’s working on technique, he’s working on get-off, he’s working on backside pursuit. What kind of player on that level is working on backside pursuit on scout team? It’s unbelievable.

“In terms of leadership, I’ve seen him pull younger guys aside and say, ‘When you go back in there, this is what you need to do. You’ve got this.’ He’s really positive and encouraging. Young guys can tend to get discouraged and get down on themselves, but NaNa helps those guys and it’s impressive.

“When your best player is your hardest-working, most-prepared and most mature, that’s a big reason why we’re having success.”

Beaudin is convinced the fact that Osafo-Mensah shut down his recruiting process by giving Notre Dame a verbal commitment back in May has helped everybody this fall.

“I think it’s been huge,” the coach says of the spring commitment. “It’s tough on those guys when they’re deciding late. That’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot going on. They have a full plate with the demands of school, obviously the rigors of football season and to also be trying to make a college decision.”

Osafo-Mensah will get back to South Bend for this weekend’s game against Florida State, but for the most part this fall, his focus has been on his own team.

“I think it’s been great for him to enjoy his senior year and be around his teammates,” Beaudin continues. “He’s such a great teammate, so he can actually enjoy that. The team benefits from that as well because they have his full attention and focus and thus his leadership. It’s been great, not only for him, but it’s been great for our team because he can be that leader that he and be around the team all of the time. He’s a big reason why we’ve been successful.”

The Fort Worth native initially burst onto the national recruiting scene between his sophomore and junior seasons at Nolan Catholic and cemented his status as an elite target with his performance last fall. And, according to his coach, he’s backed it up with an even better senior year.

“At that level, it’s hard to make a big jump because you’re already an elite player, but he has,” Beaudin says. “I think a lot of it has to do with last year being his first time at that position, putting his hand down.”

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder spent the first part of his high school career playing linebacker before moving to defensive end.

“This year, he is much more comfortable with that,” Beaudin continues. “He’s comfortable moving around, playing inside some. That was so foreign to him a year ago, but he’s embraced that. His get-off is unbelievable.

“Our d-line coach, Ron Cook, he’s a pass rush guy and he challenges those guys every day. In every practice rep on film, they’re seeing who can get off the ball first. They have fun with that competition and NaNa takes that to heart on every single rep. His get-off is unreal.”

The focus will soon shift to the postseason and Beaudin likes his squad.

“It’s a good group, a talented group. It’s a group that expects to win. That doesn’t mean they take preparation lightly. If they continue to prepare each week, then we should continue to be in good shape.”

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