Notre Dame Football Bolsters Defensive Line With Jason Onye

Notre Dame’s recruiting momentum continued to pick up steam on Thursday when the Irish added their 10th commitment for the class of 2021 – defensive end Jason Onye from Rhode Island.  Onye is the second commitment in the last two days for Notre Dame in a rollercoaster week of recruiting.

Earlier this week, cornerback Philip Riley, a 4-star cornerback committed to Notre Dame on the heels of top running back Will Shipley spurring the Irish for Clemson.  The Riley commitment was the first big win for new cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens who was brought in, in part, to bolster Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts at cornerback.

If Mickens can build on his strong start and become a recruiter like Mike Elston, Notre Dame’s secondary will be in great shape.  Elston has locked in another tremendous defensive line class for Notre Dame this year with the addition of Jason Onye, who is the third and possibly final member of the defensive line class for 2021.

Notre Dame has added a very raw prospect with a very high ceiling in Jason Onye.  In that regard, Onye is a classic Mike Elston target.   Elston has had a good track record of finding under-recruited lineman to develop in the program.  There was a time that Notre Dame didn’t have that kind of luxury, but they do now.  Ade Ogundeji, a 5th-year senior starter for 2021 and rising defensive end Ovie Oghoufo, both come to mind as recent Elston projects who have either worked out well already or look like they will work out well for the Irish.

Jason Onye fits that mold.  He has not played a lot of organized football and is very much an untapped talent at this point.  To date, he has overpowered and out-athleted his competition in Rhode Island, where he is the top-rated prospect in the state.  He won’t be able to do that at Notre Dame, but with a few years in the program learning under Elston, he has a lot of potential.

As a junior in 2019, Onye totaled 68 tackles with 12 TFLs and 10.5 sacks while forcing five fumbles.

On top of his offer from Notre Dame, Onye held offers from Boston College, Michigan, Arizona, Penn State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, among others.  He is the #442 overall rated prospect in the country according to 247Sports and a composite 3-star prospect.

Despite the 3-star ranking, Onye was a top priority for Mike Elston and Notre Dame.  The Irish offered him back in December and have made him a priority since then.  Amazingly, Onye committed on Thursday without ever visiting Notre Dame’s campus – just like Philip Riley.  Normally, Notre Dame wouldn’t accept a commitment from someone who hasn’t visited, but again, we are living in anything but normal times.

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Onye joins interior defensive lineman Gabriel Rubio who is a bonafide top-100 prospect and David Abiara, who isn’t ranked nearly as high but has just as impressive offer list as Rubio.  Notre Dame recruited Onye as a strong-side defensive end, projecting that he will continue to fill into his already 6-5, 245 lbs frame.  Rubio was recruited strictly to play on the inside and Abiara as a vyper (DROP end).

Notre Dame has not added a total of four commitments to the class of 2021 since the coronavirus shut down all in-person and campus visits.  David Abiara was the first back in March.  Offensive line Pat Coogan joined the class in April.  This week Riley and Onye joined the fold as well.  The Deion Colzie decommitment and Shipley’s decision to commit to Clemson without ever making it Notre Dame were big losses, but overall, Notre Dame has adapted well to the current circumstances pretty well.

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