Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3, 234 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, including the 2018 season.
Depth chart: Notre Dame’s class of junior defensive ends makes Ademilola’s path to playing time a lengthy one. At strongside defensive end, he will join junior linebacker-turned-end Jamir Jones in providing depth behind juniors Khalid Kareem and Ade Ogundeji.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect and the No. 34 defensive end in the class, per rivals.com, Ademilola held offers from blue blood programs such as Alabama, Clemson and Miami (FL), yet chose the Irish, nonetheless.
Ademilola’s twin brother, consensus four-star defensive tackle Jayson, is widely-considered the better front-line prospect, leading some to speculate how much of Justin’s recruitment was earned and how much was the result of an unspoken package deal. That doubt naturally leads to a different mindset from Justin, per Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston.
“I know Justin is going to come in with a chip on his shoulder,” Elston said on National Signing Day. “The world has kind of made him second fiddle to his brother, which I’m all good with. I hope he does have a chip.
“I think he’ll be the surprise of the class. I think he’s going to come in and the plan is to get them both ready to play if we need them, and see what happens.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN ADEMILOLA’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“When a program is not in need at a position yet makes a player a priority, that speaks to the theoretical quality of the recruit. Such would seem to be the case with Ademilola and defensive end.
“The flipside to such a recruitment is it may be difficult for Ademilola to break into the rotation in 2018 with four current sophomores strengthening their grips on the position each time they take the field. If he does force the issue, it will be due to his aptitude in defending the run, compared to those sophomores’ proven pass-rushing tendencies.”
Elston said he would start Ademilola out at the drop end spot (but cross-train him at least through the preseason), but that was before fifth-year senior Jay Hayes’ transfer to Georgia, weakening the depth at strongside end. At either spot, Ademilola would not begin higher than third on the depth chart (behind juniors Daelin Hayes and Julian Okwara at drop, if not also sophomore Kofi Wardlow).
Ademilola’s abilities against the run could put him in position to play at strongside — such is certainly a weakness of Ogundeji’s and Jones remains unproven on the line — but that would be a situational role at the most. If properly-deployed, such a need could be limited to four games and no more than four games, preserving a year of eligibility thanks to the NCAA’s new rules. Off the top of the head, Stanford’s high-octane physical offense, Virginia Tech with dual-threat quarterback Josh Jackson, and Navy’s triple-option could all be prime opportunities for an edge-setting physical presence like Ademilola’s, though playing a depth-providing freshman at Blacksburg is not exactly an ideal recipe for success.
DOWN THE ROAD
Ademilola will benefit from being the only defensive end recruit in the class of 2018 and one of only two remaining from the last two cycles. Wardlow preserved a year of eligibility last season, putting him on even footing with Ademilola, but Wardlow is such a raw prospect, Ademilola is much closer to consistent playing time already.
As the juniors matriculate through the program, opportunities will quickly become available for Ademilola. He may have been a recruit skeptics ridiculed and he does enter without his brother’s tantalizing upside, but Ademilola could be in the rotation at defensive end as soon as 2019, making his recruitment an undeniable need in its own right.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker, senior
No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer