There wasn’t all bad recruiting news for Notre Dame on Friday. Even though the Irish lost a commitment from linebacker Richard Yeargin, Notre Dame picked up a huge – literally – commitment from massive defensive tackle Pete Mokwuah on Friday as well.
Notre Dame has been in search of a defensive tackle for the #GoldenArmy14 since Matt Dickerson decommitted from Notre Dame to be closer to home after learning his father was diagnosed with cancer and they have done just that with the addition of the mammoth Mokwuah. At 6’4″, 315 lbs, Mohwuah has the build of a prototypical nose tackle for the Notre Dame defensive front.
Notre Dame only recently began to show serious interest in the New York native. The day after being introduced as the new defensive coordinator for Notre Dame, Brian VanGorder visited the Staten Island, New York native and told him that the Irish were going to be offering another defensive tackle soon. A week later Brian Kelly extended that offer to Mohwuah and he was quick to accept despite being committed to Rutgers since May.
For Mohwuah, the offer from Notre Dame was just too good to turn down. As NJ.com reporting last week.
Alabama, Florida, Pitt and Miami (Fla.) are additional schools that have made a strong push since Mokwuah’s commitment to Rutgers. For instance, Mario Cristobal, Alabama offensive line coach, has stopped in twice over the past few months but hasn’t been able to get Mokwuah on campus.
Mokwuah has stood strong throughout an onslaught of football factories, but there is something about Notre Dame, that has caught his eye.
“It’s the academics,” he said. “It’s tough to just shut that down. If another school came to me, like some random SEC school, and I knew the academics were not first there, I wouldn’t even consider it.”
Mokwuah has the look of an ideal Notre Dame football player off the field as well. Right now he reportedly has a 45 minute ride every morning and afternoon to and from school so that he can attend St. Joseph by the Sea High School in Staten Island. Combine that with his emphasis on academics and it’s pretty clear Notre Dame just added a member to its class that will fit in immediately on and off the field.
On the field, many Irish fans may not get too excited when they will look at Mohwuah’s 3-star designation, but there are a couple of factors that contributed to his ranking. First, he’s only played varsity football for two years so there wasn’t a whole lot of film on him when the recruiting services began evaluating the class of 2014. As a result of that, Mohwuah wasn’t involved in any of the camps that go on throughout the year to really improve his stock. His senior year highlights, however, show marked improvement from his junior season and a lot of potential for a player who is really just getting his feet wet.
Think of Mokwuah as a 300+ lbs version of Corey Robinson from last year’s class. Robinson was a 3-star recruit from most services with an offer list that didn’t have many elite suitors but like Mohwuah, he only had played varsity football for a few seasons and was still very raw. Mokwuah is in the same boat. He’s a big, athletic prospect at defensive tackle but is still very raw. For that reason, he will hopefully be able to redshirt next season and spend a year in the weight room and on the scout team to preserve a year of eligibility and to learn the position.
With Mokwuah on board, Notre Dame is trying to add one more defensive lineman to this year’s class and has two visits lined up for next week with additional linemen. Daniel Cage will be on campus for a mid-week visit while Michael Sawyers will be in next weekend along with wide receiver and one-time commitment Isaiah McKenzie. If Notre Dame lands one of either Cage or Sawyers, they will have done an absolutely fantastic job in the final month to make up for the loss of Dickerson.