Notre Dame picked up another huge – literally – commitment on Saturday for the class of 2023 when 4-star DL Devan Houstan, the #216 overall prospect in the country according to On3’s composite rankings, selected Notre Dame over Rutgers, Michigan, Pitt, and Northwestern. Checking in at 6’5″, 270 lbs already, Houstan figures to be the anchor of the interior defensive line in this cycle for the Irish.
Originally from Canada but boarding in the US at St. James School in Hagerstown, Maryland; Devan Houstan brings some position flexibility to Notre Dame’s impressive defensive line haul in 2023. Notre Dame has recruited Houstan to on the inside of the line at the nose tackle position, but he could also play defensive tackle and has played some strongside defensive end as well. Some even recruited Houstan to be an interior offensive lineman.
Houstan made the move to St. James this last year and made an immediate impact with 50 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Former Alabama wide receiver John Metchie made the same move a few years ago from Ontario to St. James before enrolling at Alabama and ultimately becoming the 44th selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. With just one full season of American football under his belt, Houstan is still relatively raw with a lot of upside for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame has had its own success with players coming down from Canada in recent years as well with Chase Claypool. Unlike Houstan, Claypool didn’t play American high school football prior to enrolling, but that didn’t stop him from being a standout wide receiver for the Irish before the Steelers selected him in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Houstan is the fourth 4-star defensive lineman for Notre Dame’s class of2023. He joins headliners Keon Keeley and Brennan Vernon along with Boubacar Traore who committed to the Irish last month. Notre Dame is hopefully not done adding just yet either with top-50 overall DE Jason Moore still on the boarding and reportedly leaning heavily to Notre Dame.
The quartet that Houstan helped formed all compliments each other very well with Vernon and Houstan likely the inside linemen and Keeley and Traore on the edges. Should the Irish add Moore as well, he’d be another edge rusher for the Irish in this class – a commodity that you can never have too much of.
Two of the four defensive line commitments for the Irish have come since the arrival of new defensive line coach Al Washington. Washington replaced Elston in January after Elston’s surprise departure for the same position with the Wolverines.
Michigan also offered Houstan, but the Wolverines and Mike Elston were unable to become a major player in his recruitment even though Houstan’s older brother Caleb is a member of the Michigan basketball team. The Wolverines had not offered Houstan until Elston’s arrival, but his previous relationship while recruiting Houstan for Notre Dame wasn’t enough for the Wolverines to even be a finalist for Houstan’s commitment.
Notre Dame now has 12 commitments for the class of 2023 with every single one being a four or five-star prospect according to 247Sports. Notre Dame’s lowest-ranked commitment at the moment is Sam Pendelton who is still ranked as the #346 overall prospect in the class. For comparison’s sake, Michigan has six commitments for 2023 and Pendelton would be the 3rd highest-rated prospect in their class. That’s how strong the class is that Marcus Freeman and his staff are currently assembling.
This latest commitment keeps Notre dame firmly in the top spot in the 247 Team Rankings as well