Jun 13, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT
Notre Dame accepted their third commitment in three days with Ohio defensive tackle Elijah Taylor. The Archbishop Moeller star chose the Irish over Ohio State, giving Brian Kelly one important recruiting victory in a cycle filled with many Irish-Buckeye battles.
Taylor is a 6-foot-3, 285-pounder who had offers from Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Tennessee and others. He’s the closet thing to a two-gap nose guard that the Irish have recruited since Brian VanGorder took over the defense.
After wondering how important defensive tackles would be in the Irish defense after watching Brian Kelly and company be very selective with Louis Nix on the roster, Notre Dame has added a slew of interior players. In the past week, they added Brandon Tiassum and Micah Dew-Treadway. In the final month of last recruiting cycle, they added Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah. Any concerns that Notre Dame wouldn’t be hunting big bodies up front can officially be dismissed.
While there’s room for more versatility at the position now than in Bob Diaco’s scheme, it appears that Taylor is a run-stuffer that Bobby D would’ve loved as well.
Our friends at Irish Illustrated caught up with Archbishop Moeller head coach John Rodenberg, who told Steve Hare that Taylor is one of the strongest players he’s ever recruited.
“He’s very disciplined and he comes from a real good family,” Rodenberg said. “He’s college strong. We stop him on his deadlifts at 650 and he benches 405. He squats over 600. He’s college ready.”
Notre Dame recruited Taylor as a defensive tackle but he has some experience playing outside as well.
“We’re a college 4-3 (defensive alignment),” Rodenberg said. “He’s a 1-technique. He plays his position and does a great job. We mix him up between the 1 and the 3. (Notre Dame) is looking for a true defensive tackle. He’s a tackle. They had some guys that departed for the NFL and they had a need at defensive tackle and they went after him.”
While he’s got the heft to be able to play on the nose, Taylor himself said that the staff sees him as they do new defensive tackle Sheldon Day. Talking to Irish Sports Daily, Taylor mentioned that the staff sees him as a perfect three-technique.
Taylor’s commitment brings the Irish 2015 recruiting class to a dozen.