Notre Dame Needs to Add Turner & Foskey to Close Class of 2019

It’s been pretty quiet on the recruiting front for Notre Dame since the start of the year in terms of the class of 2019.  The Irish signed all 21 of their commitments in December in the early signing period and have turned their attention mostly to the class of 2020 with just two targets left on the board in 2019 – linebacker Asa Turner and defensive end Isaiah Foskey.  Those two targets though, are absolutely critical in closing out this class.

There were a lot of things that we learned in the Cotton Bowl loss to Clemson.  One of the most critical, however, was that when it comes to the first 22 – aka the starting lineups – Notre Dame is not that far off from Clemson.  Where a large gap still exists, however, is in the next 63.

When Notre Dame was at full strength in the first quarter, they went toe to toe with Clemson.  When Notre Dame lost Julian Love, their All-American corner, for the entire second quarter and parts of the first, Clemson went into attack mode.  It wasn’t just Love whose lose Notre Dame felt though.  Julian Okwara, the Irish’s best pass rusher, went out in the second quarter and was lost for most of the remainder of the game.  Without those two stars, Notre Dame couldn’t keep up.

Closing that gap is critical to Notre Dame not only making the playoffs again, but being much more competitive when they do.  As Greg pointed out earlier this week, closing that gap is not as difficult as the 30-3 scoreboard disparity would lead you to believe.

That is where Asa Turner and Isaiah Foskey come into play.  Foskey is an elite pass rusher who would add to Notre Dame’s depth at defensive end so in the future they are better able to sustain injuries to star players like Okwara.  Remember, Clemson played the entire game without All ACC DT Dexter Lawrence but it was just plug and play for them with another stud lineman.  Notre Dame’s depth is better than it was in 2012 right now, but it is still not at Clemson’s level.

Part of the reason for Notre Dame’s lack of depth – at least defensively – is the unmitigated disaster that was the Brian Vangorder experiment.  Not only did Vangorder, who inexplicably continues to find employment in college football, waste some of the best defensive talent to play for the Irish in years including a generational talent like Jaylon Smith; he was also a total dud on the recruiting trail.  Defensive recruiting under Vangorder was terrible including striking out at corner in the class of 2016.

Breaking Down Notre Dame Football's Two Year Recruiting Haul: Offense

That failure was evident with Love’s injury when Notre Dame’s only other options were true freshmen or junior Donte Vaughn who we later learned was playing through a shoulder injury that explains why he might have struggled making plays on the ball despite being in good position.

While Asa Turner won’t add to Notre Dame’s future cornerback depth, he would give Notre Dame another athletic, versatile defender that could be plugged into the defense.  He is being recruited a sa ROVER by Notre Dame but a career path that sees him start at ROVER and grow into a BUCK ala Drue Tranquill seems possible given his frame.  Either way, having more athletic, versatile linebackers on the roster is always a good thing.

It is still unknown where Turner is leaning or when he will decide between Notre Dame and Washington after he originally delayed a December Signing Day ceremony after being torn between the two.  Foskey meanwhile is still planning on a February Signing Day ceremony at his high school and Notre Dame is still considered to be the odds on favorite for his signature.

If Notre Dame ends up landing Foskey, it is easy to see him playing a lot of meaningful snaps as early as 2020 if not sooner.  Notre Dame’s top two DROP DE’s – Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes – will both be off to the NFL following the 2019 season.  That would leave Notre Dame with junior to be Kofi Wardlow and 2019 early enrollee Nana Osafo-Mensah at DROP and not much else.  It’s possible that linebacker Ovie Oghoufo could grow into a DROP at the rate at which he’s developing, but again, you can never have enough pass rushers.

Daelin Hayes and Julian Okwara both came to Notre Dame in the same class and became mainstays in the Irish defense their sophomore years playing the same position.  Both have NFL futures ahead of them.  Foskey and Osafo-Mensah could have a similar career playing together for the Irish.

Should Notre Dame add both Foskey and Turner to their lineup next month, it will create more of a logjam on the 2019 roster.  That situation is already sorting itself out though with the graduate transfers of DJ Morgan and Micah Dew Treadway the last few days.  The benefits of landing also outweigh the numbers crunch that Brian Kelly and his staff will find themselves in.

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  1. duranko 4 weeks ago

    Bill Rees’ contributions to Notre Dame’s roster talent has been astounding.

    He and his minions “believe their eyes” and, assuredly, have a better idea of a prospect’s future than the daffodils who oft populate the “gossip for hire” environment known as a “recruiting service.”

    HIs NFL quality eye is keen in identifying talent, and he has translated well to the college environment, having prospered previously in Winston-Salem and partnered with, interalii, clark lea.Certainly, the coaches are also talent evaluators, but Rees is no ham-and-egger.

    The rises in rankings of Kristofic, Kizer and Hamilton are significant, but not random

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  2. pete calco 1 month ago

    Turner and Foskey are important no doubt but until Notredame can recruit great speed playmakers explosive runners wideout a great QB they will never beat the Clemsos Alabamas Ohio States Oklahomas etc

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    1. Karamello 1 month ago

      Not about recruiting them…it’s using them and how and often. BK simply does not know how to do that scared to.
      This team is filled with track champions and speedy football players from California, Florida, Louisiana…etc…on both sides.
      This team is simply taught to play not to lose and rarely to go for the win. Bama, OSU, USC, FSU, Oklahoma, Clemson, those schools
      do not play scared or tentative. Think…this team at one point had Will Fuller, Chris Brown, Dexter Williams, ESB, Stepherson, Alize Mack, and a QB
      who could get them the ball. Went up against SC and played aggressive…blew the doors off. Go play uGA and Clemson…what happens??
      Or go into a torrential downpour and throw the whole game vs using one of the best OLs in the country and a great stable of backs.

      It’s not the players…sorry.

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      1. pete calco 1 month ago

        you make some good points.I always felt Kelly and the offensive coaches are not always playing the best players or utilizing the talent correctly.Where was Lenzy Keys Austin Young.Kelly raved about these guys in the spring and fall but rarely saw them in action.Also I never see Notredame go uptempo or run jet sweep, draws .

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      2. Oldirish 3 weeks ago

        Dead on… The players are at ND. They just aren’t used appropriately very often or consistenly.

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  3. Rey 1 month ago

    Love the Irish! Since 86

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  4. Greg Kelly 1 month ago

    Forget Turner, he’s from Carlsbad about best climate in the world. When he sees sub zero temps at South Bend that’s enough to scare Him off. Go after Foskey from northern Cal. He can adapt to miserable South Bend climate.

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  5. Ryan Kirsch 1 month ago

    “Foskey is an elite pass rusher who would add to Notre Dame’s depth at defensive end”

    What am I missing? Isaiah Foskey is a 4 star tight end out of De La Salle.

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    1. Frank Vitovitch 1 month ago

      247Sports lists him as TE but he is being recruited by Notre Dame – like just about everyone else – as a defensive end. Rivals for instance has him listed as the #15 WDE in the country.

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  6. Imiss59075 1 month ago

    Hoping 1 more year removed from Vangorders tenure will remove him from future postings .

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