Senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah capped off his breakout junior season with his signature game in the Camping World Bowl against Iowa State. The performance landed him on ESPN’s All-Bowl Team and has gotten his 2021 Draft hype building very early. On Wednesday, Todd McShay included him in the top 20 of his way too early big board for next year’s draft.
McShay ranks Owusu-Koramoah as the #17 overall prospect for 2021 at this point. Considering “JOK” wasn’t even a starter at this point last year, that is quite the transformation. It shouldn’t be overly surprising though after an 80 tackle campaign in 2019 that featured 13.5 tackles for loss.
The only interesting aspect of McShay’s ranking of Owusu-Koramoah is that he ranks him as an inside linebacker, which might be a stretch at the NFL level with a listed weight of just 217 lbs. The NFL is moving towards smaller, faster linebackers, but that is still on the small side for a modern-day NFL inside backer. As is, Wu is the second-highest-rated linebacker in McShay’s rankings behind only Penn State’s Micah Parsons.
The article itself is insider content, so we won’t cut and paste his entire write up on JOK or any other players like some other sites might. ESPN Insider is a pretty small investment for some great content – especially compared to sites that will cost you over $100 a year.
“JOK” has come a long way from an unheralded, 3-star recruit who was a late addition to the 2017 recruiting class after Brian Kelly overhauled his staff and brought in Mike Elko and Clark Lea on the defensive side of the ball. He was a raw specimen with a high ceiling who is now starting to reach that potential.
Owusu-Koramoah is one of the rare project recruits who has become an impact player for Notre Dame. The Irish have done well with some under-recruited players under Brian Kelly, but few of them have become potential 1st round NFL Draft picks like it appears JOK could be next year if he continues ascending.
Usually, the low 3-star guys that Notre Dame takes a chance on do become solid role players – which every program needs – but for the most part, there haven’t been a lot of projects this staff has undertaken who have turned into such highly rated players ala Owusu-Koramoah.
Expect to see a lot more hype build for JOK throughout the pre-season – whenever that might be – and during his senior campaign. While he does have an additional year of eligibility remaining for 2021, don’t get your hopes up on him using it. If he is back in 2021, something went very wrong with his 2020 season, and that would be terrible news for Notre Dame’s chances of making a playoff run this fall. Again, assuming there is a full season and there is a playoff.
I always love seeing the unheralded recruits become big stars. Sort of like Justin Tuck, a unheralded prospect that became one of Notre Dame’s greatest defensive lineman. JOK became one of my favorite players on this team last season. He made some electrifying plays, plus he had tremendous variety in his skill set. In the Georgia game, JOK spent time covering the slot receiver. He was very effective in covering the slot. He was easily one of the best players out there that night.
I think he will continue to see the upswing this season. He has put on 30 some odd pounds since high school. He has kept his speed. If he can put on 10-15 more pounds in the next year and still run like he can, then he will be a can’t miss prospect for next year’s draft.