If you’ve been a Notre Dame fan for at least 20 or 30 years, the idea of Notre Dame having one of the country’s best defensive lines and recruiting elite talent still probably feels weird to you. Other than 2012, it had been decades since Notre Dame’s defensive lines were considered elite up until recently. This week’s commitment from Jordan Botelho though continues Notre Dame’s wild hot streak recruiting in the defensive trenches.
What Jordan Botelho Adds
Think of Jordan Botelho a little bit like Ovie Oghoufo who just converted from outside linebacker to a DROP end. Botelho is listed as an OLB by most of the recruiting services, but he was recruited by Notre Dame to be a DROP. At 6’3″, 230 lbs already, he’s got the size and he adds elite athleticism for the position.
Prior to committing to Notre Dame, he held offers from Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC. He was also the Cover2 Manti Te’o Hawaii Prep Defensive Player of the year as a junior while recording 50 tackles, 15 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, 4 forced fumbles and 4 defensive TDs.
Tom Lemming told the South Bend Tribune that he ranks Botelho as one of the top players in the country.
“He’s Manti Te’o almost. He’s that talented of an athlete,” Lemming said. “… To me, he’s a five-star talent. And he’s a top 25 player in the country. They haven’t gotten many of those lately.”
Notre Dame pulled Botelho out of Hawaii thanks in large part to ace recruiters Mike Elston and Hawaiian assassin Brian Polian. Polian’s prowess in landing prospects from the Aloha State in particular came in hand. Notre Dame’s added Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Marist Liufau, and now Jordan Botelho from Hawaii since Polian rejoined the Notre Dame staff following the 2016 season.
Polian coordinated Botelho’s recruitment while Mike Elston visited Hawaii this week to close the deal after Botelho visited Notre Dame this past weekend. Elston has been instrumental in Notre Dame’s resurgence in recruiting the defensive line.
Defensive End Finally Picking Up
Notre Dame’s had some solid classes on the interior defensive line the last 10 years, but success on the edges almost always escaped the Irish. That’s been changing in a major way the last few cycles. With Botelho committed for 2020, here’s a quick look at how Notre Dame’s done at defensive end the last three years.
- 2018: Justin Ademilola, Ovie Oghoufo (recently converted from LB)
- 2019: Nana-Osafo Mensah, Isaiah Foskey
- 2020: Jordan Botelho
Adding Botelho for 2020 after picking up a commitment from Foskey at the end gives Notre Dame two true DROP ends instead of banking on developing linebackers into ends like they have width Julian Okwara and more recently Oghoufo. You can never have enough pass rushers.
And Notre Dame isn’t done yet. The Irish are firmly in the race for Michigan native Braiden McGregor. The home-state Wolverines are going to be tough to beat, but if Mike Elston can strike again, Notre Dame would be absolutely set at defensive end for the 2020 cycle. McGregor also has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, and Penn State; but this is expected to be a Notre Dame – Michigan battle.
The Interior DL’s Been On Fire
Notre Dame has been signing quantity and quality on the interior of the defensive line as well the last few years and already has two commits for 2020 on the inside.
- 2018: Jamion Franklin, Jayson Ademilola
- 2019: Howard Cross (converting from SDE), Hunter Spears, Jacob Lacey
- 2020: Aidan Keanaaina, Alexander Ehrensberger
Notre Dame is also still in the mix for 4-star DL Rylie MIlls who is listed as a defensive end by some services. At 6’5″, 275 lbs already though it seems like his future will be on the inside of the line once he gets to college. Mills holds offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. He visited Notre Dame officially in April, is at Wisconsin this weekend, and Ohio State next weekend. With that offer list it’s pretty clear that he would be another huge addition.
Notre Dame has got it’s defensive line recruiting really cooking right now and if their add either Mills or McGregor, we’re looking at one of the best defensive line hauls of the Kelly Era. Add both and it’ll rival the Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, and Ishaq Williams class from 2011.