We are still more than two months away from the start of fall camp for Notre Dame in 2019, but that doesn’t mean some of the vital cogs for the Irish this year aren’t putting in work right now. Potential All-American defensive end Khalid Kareem is one of those such players. Kareem’s been working with former NFL DE Marcus Howard in Atlanta looking to fine tune his game.
Here’s a clip that Howard posted at the end of last week of the drills he is running Kareem through. The two areas showcased here in the drills are his first step and his hands. In fact, most of the drills shown are specifically designed to improve his hands.
Some good stuff here from #NotreDame DE Khalid Kareem (@khalid_kareem53), who has been training in Atlanta with @mwhsports3838. pic.twitter.com/K8JcIx63AF
— Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) May 24, 2019
Kareem was a dominant player at times in 2018. Against Michigan he played like a man possessed against what was supposed to be a great Michigan offense. It’s debatable just how good that Michigan team was, but it was not debatable that Kareem was one of the best players on the field that night.
If there was a knock on Kareem last year it was consistency and staying healthy. It seemed like every other week Kareem was on the turf with some sort of injury. Those minor injuries slowed him down from the torrid pace he started at and led to inconsistency.
Heading into 2019, Kareem should have a very manageable classroom load that will allow him to maximize his time in treatment this fall similar to Drue Tranquill last year. That should allow for Kareem to be closer to 100% each week.
Even with some bumps and bruises slowing him down at times in 2018, Kareem collected 10.5 tackles for loss with 4.5 sacks.
If Kareem is able to stay healthier week to week this year, the sky is really the limit for him – especially with all of the work he is putting in right now. In fact, with some better luck health wise and continued improvement, it’s not unrealistic for Kareem to have 10.0 sacks alone in 2019.
It’s pretty clear that Kareem sees the possibility of being a 1st round draft pick next April in front of him and is ready to seize it. Both he and Julian Okwara have that opportunity in front of them this year.
For Notre Dame, getting a 100% Khalid Kareem each week will help mitigate the losses the Irish suffered on both the interior of the defensive line and in the middle of the linebacking corps to the NFL. With Jerry Tillery, Jonathan Bonner, Drue Tranquill, and Tevon Coney all trying to make NFL rosters leaving huge holes in the Irish front seven; Having Kareem at 100% and playing at an All-American level would do wonders in terms of replacing all that lost talent.
The opportunity for Kareem is clearly there and it appears as though he is doing all he can this off-season to make it a reality. If he does, both he and Notre Dame will be winners in the end.
There is another, very significant level of significance here.
Leadership is often “Show me, don’t tell me.”
What Khalid is doing is “eloquent” to the players who will remain long after he has left to play on Sunday, particularly the guys in his position grouping: Ogundeji, Wardlow, Ademilola, Oghoufo, Osafo-Mensah, and the soon to arrive Isaiah Foskey.
When the big dogs don’t rest on their laurels, but, rather, double down on their efforts, It begins to establish a culture, set a tone, raising the bar.
Alabama has been doing this for years, and like it or not, it was a key part of “Da U’s” dominance for all the glory years.
Placards and signs are nice, but in daily work, it is the effort of the guy next to you that is more persuasive.
Effort and the pursuit of excellence are both contagious.
this has also been around in the OL room and their segment of the weight room; Kareem may be the vanguard, if tranquill wasn’t of establishing an inter-teammate level of accountability and pursuit of excellence.
I think one intangible factor that has plagued ND teams in the past is on the part of too many players not having a burning desire to be the best and do the xtra work to achieve their potential. In the last few years the Irish have been recruiting the type of talent that not wants to excel at the college level, but be a top draft choice in the NFL,
Or Coach Balis and the other coaches may simply be great motivators who know what the hell they’re doing. Okkam’s Razor, right?
BGC ’77 ’82
Coaching is certainly a major key in getting players to play to their potential, and it appears ND has some very capable assistants. However, a player must want it first. When you have both, you have great teams.
Sacks, hurries, tackles, disruption is what it’s all about. As soon as this new crew plays As cohesive unit it will be a force to be reckoned with.