Notre Dame didn’t have many recruits left on the board for today’s traditional National Signing Day after cleaning up in the early signing period in December. In fact, they only had one – 4-star defensive end Isaiah Foskey. Notre Dame went one for one today though and the addition of Foskey is a huge boost for an already massive haul on the defensive line in this recruiting cycle.
Isaiah Foskey is a 4-star defensive end out of De La Salle High in Concord, California – the alma mater of former Notre Dame standout Derek Landri. Amazingly Landri was the last 4-star defensive lineman that Notre Dame landed out of California. That was all the way back in 2002 when the Irish actually hauled in two 4-star linemen out of California – Chris Frome being the other.
The addition of Foskey today also gives Notre Dame two 4-star defenders in this class alone from the state of California. The Golden State has been anything but golden for Notre Dame on the recruiting front in recent years but that was not the case this year. Ironically, both California prospects have the same first name too with cornerback Isaiah Rutherford being the other.
Adding Foskey wasn’t big for Notre Dame just because it reasserted its presence in California a little bit. It also gives Notre Dame one of its best defensive line hauls in years. Notre Dame now has five defensive linemen in this class who are rated as 4-star prospects on at least one recruiting service. Interior linemen Jacob Lacey and Hunter Spears are both compositive 4-star recruits. As is strong-side defensive end Howard Cross and even though fellow weak-side defensive end Nana Osafo Mensah lost a star on Rivals, he is still a 4-star prospect on 247Sports.
Getting Foskey to join the fold was huge for Notre Dame because as we’ve seen, you can never have enough pass rushers. With Foskey and Osafo-Mensah, Notre Dame has added two legit edge rushers in the same class for the first time since they added Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes in the class of 2016. It’s no coincidence that Notre Dame’s run to the playoffs in 2018 was fueled in large part by its defensive line and its rejuvenated pass rush.
A 6’5″, 230 lbs; Foskey is a pure edge rusher for the Irish and the first DROP candidate who fits the profile to a tee in a while. Okwara has grown into the position, but even as he enters his senior season he still lacks ideal size. Hayes came to Notre Dame as a linebacker before moving. There isn’t much of a question where Foskey projects though and the athleticism that he possesses that allowed him to also be a standpoint tight end gives him all of the tools to be an elite pass rusher for the Irish.
For years Notre Dame has struggled to land elite defensive line classes. That was not the case in 2019 as Mike Elston has truly hit his stride in his return to the defensive line the last few years. Last year the Irish landed the Ademilola twins and Jamion Franklin as well. Linebacker Ovie Oghoufo could end up at the DROP DE position before too long as well. That is quite the haul along the defensive line over a two year cycle.
Despite the recent success, Notre Dame had been struggling at the defensive end position over the previous few years leaving a gap between Okwara and Hayes and their eventual replacements. Ade Ogundeji started to come on towards the end of 2018 and will have a 5th year available to him in 2020, but will very likely be looking to either Foskey or Osafo-Mensah for major minutes, if not a starting role in 2020. That is unless Oghuofo moves to DROP and is ready for a prominent role by the then. That uncertainty beyond 2019 is one major reason why adding Foskey was such a big addition for Notre Dame today.