Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Film Don't Lie | Rylie Mills

May 6, 2019

In the 2019 recruiting cycle, Notre Dame finished with one of the stronger defensive line classes of the Brian Kelly era. They signed five 4-star prospects, more than any other class the Irish have landed under Kelly, and the group has the potential to be the core of a defense that can once again lead the Irish to the College Football Playoff.

Who they ended up with wasn’t part of the original “dream class” for the Irish, though.

Some players that they were high on earlier in the process ended up elsewhere. The five weren’t all part of Plan A for 2019 recruiting (at least not he original draft of Plan A).

The 2020 class defensive line class is different. It’s on pace to be even more impressive with four commitments already in the fold and all of them are players the coaching staff circled early as priority targets.

The latest commitment, Rylie Mills‍ is the perfect example of a Plan A recruit. The coaching staff locked in on the Lake Forest, Illinois product as one of the first defensive line offers in the class. Things went according to plan when he publicly committed to the Irish today and he’s helping them take the next step to signing another elite group of D-line prospects.

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 275

Projected Position: 3-technique defensive tackle

ISD Grade: 92 (4-star)

National Average Grade: 91.7 (4-star)

What he does best:

Mills runs really well for a young man his size. 6’5” interior defensive linemen who can move like him are gold in college football and he can make plays from the backside like he does right here. He’s lined up as the nose and beats the reach of the center to make this tackle.


He has long arms and shows good hand-eye coordination when it comes to batting the ball down. He knocked down several as a sophomore. This kind of play is as good as a sack and counts towards a team’s Havoc rate.


His motor is impressive, which makes him yet another D-linemen the Irish are bringing in that plays with that mentality. It’s often the most overlooked part of the position, but effort is critical even for someone with his physical traits.


Mills shows the potential to be a good pass rusher that can win with lateral quickness. I love seeing this quick arm over and finish from him. That can become a go-to move for a player like him at the next level.


What he needs to improve:

I want to see him defeat blocks with violent hands more and shed blocks quicker. He is an overwhelming jumbo athlete for his current competition to handle, but that is what allows him to win the most right now. He has some technique work to do with his hand placement and footwork like a lot of linemen his age.

He used his length better during his sophomore season. I want to see more of this from him as a senior and then he needs to continue to build on it at Notre Dame.


He can get away with playing with his pad level too high at the high school level. If you watched Jerry Tillery as a high school defensive linemen, he had the same issue. Tillery overcame it as he played with more of a flat back after his get off at Notre Dame. Mills will have to do the same to play up to his potential.

What’s his ceiling?

He has good initial quickness off the ball that will only get better as he adjusts his stance while working with Mike Elston. He’ll play with a stance better set up to attack as a penetrator in Notre Dame’s defense and he has the length and athletic traits to excel there.

The one thing that I feel is important to point out is that I feel his sophomore film was better than his junior film. Obviously you want to see him build and incrementally improve each year.

It wasn’t that his junior film wasn’t impressive, but I would have had him easily making the ISD Fab 50 if he I had seen a few more of the things I saw as a sophomore.

Seeing him in person, he has a big frame and should be able to carry 290+ at Notre Dame. With a dominant senior season and better use of his hands/arm length, I see Mills projecting to be a quality 3-technique defensive tackle for the Irish with a chance to be an above average pass rusher and a force against the run.

BREAKING | 2020 Four-Star DL Rylie Mills Commits To Notre Dame
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