While the likes of Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara, Chase Claypool, and a few more former Notre Dame players are busy preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft, Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is already catching the eyes of draft experts for the 2021 Draft. “Wu,” Notre Dame’s starting ROVER, has been trending toward stardom for a while now.
Here’s what ESPN’s Todd McShay tweeted out yesterday while studying up on Notre Dame prospects for this year’s Draft.
Trying to study four Notre Dame draft prospect for this years class but LB 6 Owusu-Koramoah keeps distracting me! This dude is all over the field on three tapes studied so far. #nfldraft2021 pic.twitter.com/Jf3z58zHv5
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) March 10, 2020
Forgive McShay for not knowing Wu’s name. Some also refer to him as JOK too. All opponents preparing for him in 2020 will also refer to him as a nightmare. If any of them don’t know his name yet, they will. Just like all of the draft experts will in no time.
After missing almost all of 2018 due to injury and redshirting as a freshman in 2017, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah exploded last year. He led Notre Dame in tackles for loss with 13.5, including 2.5 in the Georgia game that caught McShay’s eye. He then closed the year with an absolute monster performance in the Camping World Bowl that landed him on ESPN’s “All Bowl Team.” JOK racked up 3.0 sacks and 4 TFL while forcing one fumble and recovering another against an Iowa State team that had no answer for him.
Owusu-Koramoah technically has two years of eligibility left, but don’t get your hopes up because if he improves on his 2019 performance this fall at all; he is going to be a very high NFL Draft pick. Even if he just replicates what he did, he will be on everyone’s NFL radar.
Just to toot my own horn here a bit, I did have JOK rated higher than anyone else in our 2019 Notre Dame player rankings at 16th even though that turned out even be too low. At the time though, I did write, “Remember, JOK was the first player Notre Dame recruited exclusively as a ROVER after the hiring of Mike Elko in early 2017. I expect a breakthrough campaign from him this fall.”
Wu represents one of the rebooted Notre Dame staff’s huge recruiting wins in the aftermath of the 2016 disaster. After Brian Kelly shook up his staff following that nightmare season, his new staff made a slew of late offers that turned into players like Jafar Armstrong, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Kofi Wardlow, Jonathan Doerer, Jordan Genmark-Heath, and Wu. Four of those players are expected to be frontline starters in 2020. Aaron Banks committed after the season ended too, but he was on Notre Dame’s radar long before the staff shakeup.
While Notre Dame’s last two ROVERs both moved to BUCK for their final seasons at Notre Dame, don’t expect to see Owusu-Koramoah get many looks there this spring or fall. He is a perfect fit at ROVER, and with the direction the NFL is headed, athletes of JOK‘s mold – smaller, fast, crazy athletic linebackers – have more of a home than the traditional 245+ lbs linebackers of the past.
Notre Dame has some questions at BUCK this year, but they do not have any at ROVER with JOK looking like a star in the making and Paul Moala waiting in the wings. Get used to JOK getting more and more national attention and enjoy all the havoc he causes this fall because at the rate he’s going, a 5th year is not in his future – a high draft pick is.
Agreed. My biggest frustration with Kelly has been his insistence on playing upperclassmen just because they are upperclassmen. Being loyal is fine, but when you have better options they should play. Kelly seems to be changing in that regard, so I’m hoping there’s more playing time for the freshmen. As was stated already, if they dont get any action or redshirt their freshman year in today’s game these talented kids can be gone after only a year or two of starting. Plus, some guys seem to get frustrated and transfer. Utilize the talent and dont worry about older players feelings!
“Get used to JOK getting more and more national attention and enjoy all the havoc he causes this fall because at the rate he’s going, a 5th year is not in his future – a high draft pick is.”
An excellent conclusion to this post. Which is why not playing outstanding Frosh recruits, or playing them in only four games to preserve their eligibility, is naive in today’s college atmosphere among programs that are elite or near-elite.
The more four star and five star and even rising three star recruits ND gets, the more they need to be liberally utilized in each week’s game plan, because if they’re good enough, ND will be lucky if they even get them to return their senior year let alone a fifth year.
No substitute for developing their talent game time, not practice reps. PLay ’em if you get ’em. They’ll be gone before you know it.
Completely agree Michael.
You think Kyle Hamilton is going to last 4 seasons? Nope
I agree too, so long as they as true freshmen are able to handle their academic responsibilities as well.