Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Film Don't Lie | Gabriel Rubio

June 14, 2019

Notre Dame is on a run. The kind of run that they haven’t gone on in a long time. They are on a run of landing great defensive tackle recruits and it doesn’t appear like that run is going to stop any time soon.

Mike Elston has done a fantastic job in the last few recruiting cycles of bringing in top interior prospects and he just landed another one in 2021 DT Gabriel Rubio‍. Someone who has the potential to play both defensive tackle spots for the Irish, Rubio is a huge pickup this early in the process and he gives Notre Dame their third 4-star commit for 2021.

And it’s only June of 2019.

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 275

Projected Position: Defensive tackle

ISD Grade: 92 (4-star)

National Average Grade: 91.6 (4-star)

What he does best:

Rubio is a big body who is only going to get bigger. He has the frame to add a lot of good weight over the next few years. What’s most encouraging about his size, though, is the fact that he moves so well for someone that big.

He flashes good twitch with a very good first step. Initial quickness from an interior player is what can make a player great rather than average and Rubio shows that initial quickness. On first glance this play might look like it’s all about power from Rubio as he drives the guard back into the runner, but it’s really all about him getting off the ball quickly and establishing his presence that way. That twitch converts into power.


You saw it with that play and there are several others where Rubio penetrates into the backfield. He’s a disruptor and on this next play he does it by swiping the hands away from the blocker and forcing the back to cut right into the help from his teammates.


I think he is going to be a great run defender because he already has a great feel for blocks and knowing how to redirect off of them. He knows what is coming with the down block from the guard is violent defeating this.


There are some positive signs that he can become a good pass rusher as well. For me with defensive tackles, it’s all about how a player can move laterally. That’s the way you can win on the interior as a pass rusher outside of the standard bull rush, which can be good, but there is a ceiling to the impact a great interior bull rusher can make.

I just love seeing Rubio work across the face of the center and winning with a swim move here. Yes, it can be tighter with his technique, but the ability is clearly there.


Rubio’s motor really stands out as well. There are numerous times he’s fighting through two blocks to make a play. He plays like he has a desire to be great.

What he needs to improve:

I think he can look a bit reckless with hands and feet, which gets him a little bit out of control at times. Once he learns how to marry his hands and his feet together with some of his movement, it will make a big difference in the amount of plays he will disrupt.

Overall he shows a good lean out of his stance, but he can pop up at times showing that 6’5” height in a bad way. That is often when he is slanting or moving laterally. He can redirect now, but might get washed down the line going against better players in college if that doesn’t change.

I want to see more violence with his punch. He does a nice job working an edge of a blocker, but it can look more like he is shooting a gap rather than working through the shoulder of a blocker. That is something he should get better at with constant repetition.

What’s his ceiling?

I think Rubio has a chance to develop into a plus player against the run and pass at the next level. The fact that he could end up playing nose or 3-technique only adds to his value with him potentially playing inside with players like Aidan Keanaaina‍, Rylie Mills‍, and Jacob Lacey in the future.

One thing that I believe is important is the hustle he plays with and what I mentioned earlier about it looking like he has a desire to be great. That put together with his fit at Notre Dame makes me believe his floor is going to be pretty high as well by the time he gets to campus.

As long as he continues to progress over the next couple of years, I think he is someone who can compete in the rotation early in his career. He might end up being a fantastic player and still not be a multi-year starter because of how they have recruited the position, but that is a very good problem for Notre Dame to have.

BREAKING | 2021 Four-Star DT Gabriel Rubio Commits To Notre Dame

A Challenge From Mike Elston Led Gabriel Rubio To A Commitment

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