New Notre Damen defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman has made it known that he is going to be very aggressive on the recruiting trail. Freeman has hit the ground running, unlike any other Irish assistant coach we’ve seen in many years. Those efforts have already paid off with a couple of commitments, and more could be on the way as the Irish continue to be finalists for some elite talent. On Saturday, composite 4-star linebacker Devon Jackson included Notre Dame in his top 5.
Shortly after Jackson announced his top-5, a Crystal Ball prediction on 247Sports came in for Notre Dame from Irish Illustrated’s Tom Loy. Jackson’s other finalists in his top-5 include Texas A&M, Arizona State, Miami, and Oklahoma.
Notre Dame made the top-3 list for another 4-star linebacker, Joshua Burnham, last week. In that recruitment, the Irish are battling Michigan and Wisconsin.
Jackson (6’2′, 200 lbs) has played more as a pass rusher on the prep level, but projects more as a WILL in Freeman’s scheme at Notre Dame.
Clark Lea did a very good job recruiting at Notre Dame, but it looks like Freeman could take recruiting – specifically at linebacker – to new heights for the Fighting. Optimism is much higher for Jackson than it is for Burnham at the moment for Notre Dame, but overall, linebacker recruiting is in great shape.
Notre Dame is also still in great shape for 4-star linebacker Sebastian Cheeks from Evanston, Illinois. There is currently a Crystal Ball prediction in for Notre Dame top-100 overall prospect Niuafe Tuihalamaka as well. If the Irish were to sign the trio of linebackers they currently hold Crystal Ball predictions for, it would be quite the accomplishment for Freeman in his first year at Notre Dame.
Jackson has a connection to the current Notre Dame roster. Rising sophomore Xavier Watts and Jackson were teammates at Burke HS in Omaha before Watts enrolled at Notre Dame in 2020. There were rumblings during the season that Watts was having some growing pains – as is the case often with freshmen – so hopefully the staff has worked all of that out.