Jul 11, 2011, 12:58 AM EDT
If Romeo Okwara can step onto campus and make the same type of impact as the last linebacker from Ardrey Kell High School, Brian Kelly and Bob Diaco are going to be very happy.
As rumors swirled around other more familiar names in the recruiting derby this weekend, Romeo Okwara, who hails from the same high school as sophomore linebacker Prince Shembo, stole some of the headlines and committed to the Irish, making the announcement via his Facebook page en lieu of a press conference.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native is the twelfth recruit to commit to Notre Dame for the 2012 class, and he’s right out of central casting for the Irish when it comes to outside linebackers. At 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, Okwara has the build to become a prototype outside linebacker in the Irish system, a position the coaching staff sees him slotting into.
Okwara spent this weekend in South Bend, visiting with former teammate and family friend Shembo as well as getting the full pitch from head coach Brian Kelly and the current players. According to IrishIllustrated.com, Okwara said the coaching staff was going to bring in three outside linebackers, and Okwara joins David Perkins as the first two to pull the trigger.
If you watch tape of Okwara, it’s clear the Irish see pass rushing ability in him, as just about every inch of tape has Okwara playing with a hand on the ground and wreaking havoc in an opposing offense’s backfield. Okwara continues a good trend for the Irish, pulling good players out of the Carolinas. His offer list is filled with Southeastern schools, with every major program in North Carolina offering, as well as offers from Miami, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Clemson on board. H/T to Irish message-board oracle Hobbs, who notes that Okwara is an absolute perfect fit for a 3-4 defense, with Al Groh at Georgia Tech, Mike London at Virginia, Al Golden at Miami, and Bob Diaco at Notre Dame all chasing Okwara, with each of those defenses holding the same philosophies, passed down from Groh, one of the forefathers of the 3-4 defense.
There are reports that Okwara just turned 16 last week, which would lead you to believe he’s not done growing yet and could turn into a monstrous player. He’ll be a great developmental prospect at Cat linebacker, where the Irish are stockpiling a pretty diverse set of passing rushing talent to fill in after Darius Fleming graduates.