Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3, 230 pounds.
2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Oghoufo has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019, after not taking the field last year.
Depth chart: Oghoufo moved up a level on Notre Dame’s defense this spring, but came no closer to playing time in doing so. At drop end, Oghoufo is no higher than fourth, behind seniors Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes and sophomore Justin Ademilola.
Recruiting: The consensus three-star prospect from a Detroit suburb was not swayed by offers from either Michigan or Michigan State.

Oghoufo did not see any action as a freshman, despite enrolling early, but he did earn Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors as a linebacker. This spring he moved to end, where he managed five tackles, including two for loss with a sack, in the Blue-Gold Game.

Maybe some comparisons should not be made. Not because they are inaccurate, but because they set an unnecessarily-high bar.

“He’s flashed to us,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in mid-March. “It’s easy to compare, right? We try to find guys — he’s like a young Julian Okwara. He’s very twitchy. He’s probably a little bit physically stronger than Julian was at this time, but they’re on a similar career path. We think he’s going to be the next guy that steps in when Julian moves on.”

“Before the four-game possibility was created for freshmen to play without losing a year of eligibility, there was very little chance of Oghoufo competing this season.

“As it stands now, he is athletic and quick. If trotting Oghoufo out for punt and kick coverage units throughout November keeps starting safeties’ and linebackers’ legs from those dozen sprints down the field, then it is worth it. Quite literally, there will be no loss involved presuming Oghoufo will mentally be ready for those five second bursts after going through eight weeks of the season.

“If Oghoufo plays in more than those four games, that is an indication he impressed more than was realized in spring practices and will continue to do so in preseason practice.”

If Oghoufo takes more than a handful of snaps at end this year, that will be a surprise and probably a sign of injury. If and when a game gets out of hand to the point that Okwara and Hayes get comfortable on the bench, Notre Dame will focus on getting Ademilola live work.

Oghoufo will instead have two tasks for the season: Get accustomed to his new position and excel in special teams coverage as much as he did in the spring.

Both Okwara and Hayes will be gone after this year, and if Kelly’s praise is to be believed, Oghoufo’s time will come no matter who is coming up behind him. Freshman Isaiah Foskey will quickly receive his own set of praise, but his muscular body may be more a la Hayes while Oghoufo’s lankiness continues to remind of Okwara.

Foskey’s presence will not change the basic snap math of losing both Okwara and Hayes at the position. Ademilola may well step into the primary role, but support will be very much needed. Defensive line rotations are the key to top-level success in college football.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 50: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 32: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker