The Notre Dame defense returns most of their production from an 11-2 team in 2021. The most significant piece returning is star defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey. Marcus Freeman was able to keep Foskey in South Bend, hoping the extra year would catapult him into the 2023 NFL Draft. The standout defensive end wreaked havoc on opposing offenses last fall, and quarterbacks must know where he is lined up on every play.
- Position: Defensive End
- Grade: Senior/ Junior
- Hometown: Antioch, California
- High School: De La Salle
- Height/ Weight: 6’ 5” / 260 lbs
- 2020: 20 tackles (12 solo), 4.5 sacks
- 2021: 52 tackles (38 solo), 11 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Foskey is a sack machine
Isaiah Foskey saw a major spike in production from his sophomore to junior season. His eleven sacks in 2021 were 11th best in the country. After another year in the weight room with Strength Coach Matt Balis, many expect his numbers to reach new heights this fall.
Along with his eleven sacks, Foskey was able to force six fumbles. NFL scouts certainly are looking for defensive linemen to not only be able to record sacks but also create turnovers.
The entire Notre Dame Defense can get to the quarterback this fall. Notre Dame boasted 41 sacks last season and can surpass that number in 2022. Isaiah Foskey will be joined by fellow linemen Jacoby Lacey, Rylie Mills, the Ademilola brothers, Howard Cross III, and Nana Osafo-Mensah, to name a few.
2023 NFL Draft Potential
Without a doubt, Foskey was one of the biggest names to forgo last year’s draft. Instead, he returns to a loaded Irish Defense this fall, hoping to make it back to the College Football Playoffs and boost his impressive resume.
Isaiah Foskey has the potential to be a first-round draft pick in 2023. Like I wrote recently, Foskey could also join new Irish defender Brandon Joseph in the first round as well as Michael Mayer on the offensive side of the ball. With his size, if Isaiah Foskey can build off his numbers from a season ago, he has the potential to go early in next year’s draft.
Notre Dame’s Defense Line was one program’s best groups in 2021 and will be one of the top units in the country this fall. Last year, fans saw Marcus Freeman send pressure in a variety of ways with a multitude of players. However, the top defenses in the country can also get pressure by only rushing four, and the Irish will have that luxury.
The Fighting Irish will face a significant challenge right out of the gate with the Ohio State Buckeyes. I know the national championship was low-scoring last season, but college football has been dominated by high-scoring offenses most of the decade. With players like Isaiah Foskey and Brandon Joseph, the 2022 Notre Dame Defense can be elite this season.