Just as Notre Dame says goodbye to one Okwara sibling, they’ll welcome another.
Julian Okwara committed to the Irish on Tuesday evening. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end from Charlotte is following in his brother’s footsteps, committing to Notre Dame and ending his recruitment early.
Okwara chose the Irish over finalists Ole Miss, Clemson, Georgia and Michigan.
He released the following statement via Twitter:
After many months of research and visits I have decided to commit to play football at the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame felt like the right place for more to be academically and as a football player. With it being the top business school in American it felt like the right place to further my education. Being on that campus opened my eyes to many opportunities. Spending time with the coaches and players it felt like I was already part of the team up there. I am truly blessed.
Thank you to all the coaches who recruited me, this would’ve never happened without your belief in me. I would like to thank my parents for the countless hours of support and time they invested in me hoping I reach a point like this. I would like thank my coaches who also invested countless hours into my teammates and I. It’s a blessing to reach this point in my life and I can’t thank the people who helped me enough. Also my brothers who motivated me to be better at everything I do, no matter what it is.
I would like to thank my teammates, we have spent many months working out together through the good and the bad times, y’all are my brothers and I look forward to the future. Lastly, I would like to thank my friends for the support, it never goes unnoticed. Lastly, #GoIrish.
Okwara’s viewed as a 4-star prospect by Rivals and 247, a pass rushing option for the Irish, who still need to add young talent to the defensive end position.
The move is hardly a surprise, with Okwara visiting South Bend multiple times, including a recent Junior Day. Okwara initially planned to wait until the end of the month before moving up the timeline—a sign that pointed to a commitment to the Irish.
“No point in holding it,” Okwara told 247’s Steve Wiltfong earlier this week. “You do the research and you find the right place and you know everything has come together when you feel it in your heart.”
The pick of Notre Dame is fully approved by family, with Romeo joking earlier this week that he and his parents expected Julian to pick the Irish in the end. And it’s approved by a coaching staff that’s in need of pass rushers, joining Bo Wallace from last cycle as a weakside defensive end prospect.
Okwara had 10 sacks as a junior and is a more natural football player than his older brother was at this point of his career. He’ll join a recruiting class that’s growing larger, with the chance of adding a few more commitments this spring.
He joins offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer, cornerback Julian Love, running back Tony Jones and long snapper John Shannon in the 2016 recruiting class.