Freshman defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji will be a handful for beat writers and fans, thanks to a name that could singlehandedly win you a Scrabble game. The Irish coaching staff hopes he’s the same type of handful for opposing quarterbacks.
Looking to find some pass rushers to come off the edge of Keith Gilmore’s defensive line, Notre Dame identified Ogundeji early, who walked away from a commitment to Western Michigan as bigger schools came calling the summer before his senior season. But after a visit to South Bend in June, the Michigan native pledged to the Irish staff just weeks later, an important piece of the puzzle for an Irish recruiting class desperate for edge rushers.
6’5″, 215 lbs.
A three-star recruit, Ogundeji had offers from Oregon, Cal, Purdue and Pitt before committing to Notre Dame. ESPN ranked him as Michigan’s No. 11 player in the state. He’s a developmental prospect if there ever was one, but certainly has “RKG” status after being praised for his character and work off the field.
He’s a long, lean and impressive looking pass rush prospect. Ogundeji wears size 18 shoes and Keith Gilmore talked about his gigantic hands, so there’s a clear amount of projecting being done here.
But you’re not turning on the high school tape and seeing a dominant edge player yet, so Gilmore is going to need to build one—along with Paul Longo who has already spent the summer adding some meat to the bones of a guy who still looks like a basketball player.
That said, Notre Dame’s roster lacks defenders with this body type, especially on a line that’s heavy on two-gappers and swing players. Ogundeji was born to be an edge rusher, and adding him to the program immediately addresses a roster deficiency.
This feels like a redshirt situation. With Jay Hayes and Andrew Trumbetti likely sharing the snaps at weakside (and don’t forget Daelin Hayes), Ogundeji seems a long way from being ready to contribute. So while there could be a terror off the edge developing, it’ll take a few years.
Looking back at developmental recruits at defensive end, the Irish haven’t had the best of luck. But Ogundeji has a few things going for him other than his physical traits—mainly a academic profile that lends itself to Notre Dame.
A good gamble to take, but he’s a wait-and-see freshman. Let’s put a pin in this until spring time.
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