The 2018 Notre Dame recruiting class received a boost on Tuesday with the commitment of three star defensive tackle Ja’Mion Franklin from Ridgley, Maryland. Franklin chose Notre Dame over Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Louisville. Any time the Irish can add a quality player along the defensive line it is noteworthy; it’s a position Notre Dame has struggled to fill on a consistent basis, especially with high priority targets.
— #55GoLive (@Jamion_Franklin) June 6, 2017
Franklin is a robust 6’1 and 315 pounds with an impressive burst off the line for a man his size. He’s got some pretty advanced moves for a.) such a young player and b.) for a defensive tackle who can likely just chuck guys he doesn’t want to be in his way. To the latter point, there was one particular play on his highlight tape where he blows up the guard so badly the guard crashes into the back causing a fumble. It’s too bad, because I’m not sure Franklin would get credit for a tackle for loss or forced fumble, since he never touched the offensive player. Either way, it’s quite the sight to see.
Generally, Franklin has what can objectively considered a great spring and summer camp season, turning heads in one-on-one drills. He earned an invitation to The Opening finals in Oregon later this month, a notable accomplishment for a three star player and an indication that his three star status is likely to be amended following the event. Not that he should have needed a strong showing in camps for people to notice, watching his film, I’m not sure what this guy can’t do, or isn’t doing to warrant a higher ranking.
Franklin joins a class that already counts the Ademilola twins along the defensive line and looks to add at least two more, bringing the total to five. Notre Dame would like to take two from a list of Thomas Booker, P.J. Mustipher, and Jayson Oweh. More on that later, but for now, it’s nice to get another big, explosive body in the fold, and Franklin is just that.
Where Does The Class Stand?
Franklin gives Notre Dame 12 commitments to the 2018 class that currently ranks 6th nationally on 247 with an average star rating of .9020, or low four star. I put this as a matter of fact, rankings fluctuate throughout the season as players constantly get evaluated (for example, quarterback Phil Jurkovec has dropped considerably since April, same for safety Derrik Allen).
Notre Dame now has three commitments along the defensive line with Franklin joining the Jersey City twin duo of Jayson and Justin Ademilola. Don’t expect Notre Dame to call it a day along the defensive front though. The Irish may have solidified the interior line but will still be looking to add pass rushers and won’t stop recruiting elite defensive tackles.
Best bets to add to the class at this point would be Thomas Booker, the four star defensive end also out of Maryland who has been heavily linked to Notre Dame for a while now. Booker is pretty much the prototype of the kind of player/person that thrives at Notre Dame so the fit is natural and he’s rumored to have been asking the types of questions to Notre Dame commits that would lend one to believe he’s close to pulling the trigger.
Notre Dame could also be close to picking up another wide receiver. Kevin Austin was thought to be getting close to making a decision although those talks have cooled somewhat. The four star receiver out of Florida originally listed four schools with a chance to earn his commitment, with Notre Dame leading the way along with Duke, Miami, and Tennessee. Since then, Austin picked up an offer from Clemson, leading to fears an offer from the defending national champions would change his calculus. However, word has come that his top four remains constant and Notre Dame is looking good.
Even with the commitment of Franklin, the class of 2018 still has plenty of room to grow after the off-season transfers of Spencer Perry, Josh Barajas, and most recently Tristen Hoge. One of those spots, however, could end up being occupied by Navy transfer Alohi Gilman who is visiting Notre Dame today.