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Irish A-to-Z: Isaac Rochell

Aug 18, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

Oklahoma v Notre Dame Getty Images

Providing depth in 2013, sophomore Isaac Rochell just became a very large part of Notre Dame’s plans this season. With the recent suspension of Ishaq Williams casting his season in doubt, Rochell has stepped into the starting lineup indefinitely, ready or not.

The Georgia native didn’t make much of an impact last season, but caught Brian Kelly’s eye last week. That was before the Irish head coach knew he was going to have to throw a starting job his way, making this a much different story.

Let’s take a closer look at another young piece of Brian VanGorder’s defense.

 

ISAAC ROCHELL
6’3.5″ 287 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 90

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

Rochell didn’t garner the excitement of a Tuitt, Nix or Lynch, but he had SEC offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and more than a few others before picking the Irish. A Top 150 prospect by any measure, Rochell was a first-team All-State pick in Georgia and played both ways for Eagles’ Landing Christian Academy.

On Signing Day, Kelly talked about the type of player the Irish landed.

“I think Isaac is a guy that didn’t play in lot of the postseason games so he didn’t get a ton of exposure,” Kelly said. “I mean, we’re really excited as a staff to have Isaac Rochell.  He’s going to play on the defensive line, and he’s going to impact this program.  I think he’s got a huge upside, and we’re really excited about getting a player of this caliber here to Notre Dame.”

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2013): Rochell played in all 13 games, making 10 tackles (including four against Air Force, where his brother Matt plays). Also forced one fumble.

 

UPSIDE POTENTIAL

Rochell seemed fairly anonymous until Kelly called him a “beast” last week, raising his profile in camp quite a bit. Add to that the suspension of Williams and a position already desperately searching for answers makes Rochell’s a pretty good candidate for an early-season sleeper.

Ultimately, we need to see how explosive Rochell is off the edge. At close to 290 pounds, Rochell could be better suited for a three-technique type, though that doesn’t do much to help Notre Dame out of their bind. And at this point, you’ve got to think Notre Dame is going to play their best defensive line, even if it means there are a few pieces that aren’t quite a custom fit.

As a prospect, Rochell gives you plenty of reasons to be excited. But as a starter? I guess we could find out in a few weeks.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

I tend to throw last season’s results out when thinking about Rochell. You can’t blame a young player for struggling to make an impact, especially as a 3-4 defensive end. But that’s not the case this season, as Rochell now goes from part of the future to piece of the present.

That’s scary, but only because we really don’t know much about Rochell. He was productive against Air Force, though Notre Dame’s schedule is going to need more than just dominance competence against Service Academies. Ultimately, Rochell’s move into the starting lineup will scare you if you expected big things from Williams, and will be a jump-start to the future if you thought Notre Dame would get another season of mediocrity out of the former five-star recruit.

Rochell looks plenty sturdy, and at almost 290-pounds, he’s a defensive tackle in any other era of Notre Dame football. He might still be that on passing downs, sliding inside as the Irish bring in more speed off the edge. But for the Irish defense to hold up, Rochell is going to need to be able to do that against the run, almost a leap of faith at this point.

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The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Will Fuller
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes
Chase Hounshell
Torii Hunter Jr.
Jarron Jones
DeShone Kizer
Ben Koyack
Christian Lombard
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Nick Martin
Greer Martini
Jacob Matuska
Cam McDaniel
Mike McGlinchey
Colin McGovern
Pete Mokwuah
John Montelus
Kendall Moore
Nyles Morgan
Sam Mustipher
Quenton Nelson
Tyler Newsome
Romeo Okwara
James Onwualu
C.J. Prosise
Anthony Rabasa
Doug Randolph
Max Redfield
Cody Riggs
Corey Robinson

  1. jommy995 - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Good size and athleticism. Lacks the repeat disappointments of the guy he’s in line to replace. What’s not to like?

    True freshman last year? How many players get into every game in their first year? How many do that without high second-year expectations? I think it’s time to raise expectations for this kid. Could be his year.

    • dickasman - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      I think Keith meant Sir Isaac. We don’t want to piss this guy off. He’s all we got.

      ND better hire some more Illuminati under the radar cheating tutors.

  2. domerboyirish - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Rochell Rochell. One mans exciting trip from Georgia to Indiana.

    This kid is a beast. i agree that he may be better suited for tackle but we have a group of linemen that seem to get up the field and disrupt. With some zone blitzes from some talented linebackers I think we will be OK.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:14 AM

      I laughed out loud at this.

    • andy44teg - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      I thought it was an erotic journey??

      • domerboyirish - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:59 AM

        I changed it. Otherwise Dickasman would expand from there…

  3. fnc111 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Saw him walking out of the Gug last week. He’s built like a moose.

    • nudeman - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      • papadec - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        Funny, nude, funny.

    • dickasman - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Y but can he pass the test? Does he know his alphabets? Can he count to 100?

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