James Onwualu – WR – 6’2″, 205 lbs, 4.5
Hailing from the same high school, Cretin Derham Hall, as former Notre Dame standouts Michael Floyd and Ryan Harris, James Onwualu was another early commitment in this year’s class. Notre Dame’s latest Cretin Derham alum brings a lot of versatility with him to Notre Dame. Recruited as a wide receiver, Onwualu has the ability to also play safety and running back as well depending on where he is needed and fits in best.
All of the major recruiting services except Scout list Onwualu as a 4-star recruit, but all of them do agree that he is an “athlete” as he leaves Minnesota and heads to South Bend. If Notre Dame didn’t have a backlog at safety already, safety might make the most sense for him given his size and speed. Given the numbers at safety though, wide receiver looks the most likely.
Notre Dame lacks a true “possession” wide receiver in this offense at this point – a chain moving, reliable target. Onwualu has the ability to fill that void. I hate using the term possession wide receiver because it carries a negative connotation, but every offense needs that big, physical wide receiver that can out-muscle a cornerback for position and move the chains.
Notre Dame has a lot of talent and depth coming back at wide receiver next year. TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels started to establish themselves as the go to targets by the end of the season and 2012 freshmen Justin Ferguson, Chris Brown, and Davonte Neal all showed promise . Senior to be Daniel Smith, whose career has been slowed by injuries, returns as well.
It would also not be surprising if Onwualu got a look at running back with Theo Riddick out of eligibility and Cierre Wood looking very likely to forgo his 5th year of eligibility for the NFL. Amir Carlisle will return from injury next year, but there will be a lot of opportunity at running back for the Irish in the fall.
Onwualu picked Notre Dame with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, and Wisconsin
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