Notre Dame’s deliberate pursuit of length has extended to its next defensive line class with Friday’s commitment from consensus three-star David Abiara (Legacy High School; Mansfield, Texas).
The 6-foot-4 defensive end relies on his frame to keep opposing offensive linemen at bay before he simply goes around them. That approach had elicited offers from Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma, to name the blue-bloods, before a visit to South Bend in February helped make up Abiara’s mind.
“I wanted to go see some other places, but from early on, I had a good feeling that Notre Dame was the school,” Abiara told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “… I told [the Notre Dame coaches] that I’m ready, and today I felt it was necessary for me to announce it. I felt like that it was best for me and what I’m trying to accomplish.”
When the Irish finished up their 2020 recruiting back in December, recruiting coordinator Brian Polian preached the advantages of notable wingspans.
“If you can get a really good athlete who has got length that’s better than just a really good athlete that doesn’t,” Polian said. “… Just how powerful length is and especially at the skill positions. I think there was a concerted effort this year to, if we have two equal grades on a guy, let’s go with the guy that’s got a little bit more length.”
That made Abiara a priority in the class of 2021, now with seven commitments, including consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio (Lutheran of Saint Charles High School; St. Peters, Mo.). The two of them could form an intimidating defensive interior in a few years, with Abiara likely to fill the strongside defensive end role, one which often moves to an inside alignment on passing-specific downs. Though his high school competition is overmatched, Abiara’s body control will allow him to absorb linemen, a la Khalid Kareem, theoretically springing other pass-rushers as often as chasing the quarterback himself.
100% Committed, Love Thee 🍀🍀 pic.twitter.com/hcxXWpzjkE
— David Abiara 🇳🇬 (@Dtx_Davidd) March 27, 2020
When the No. 21 defensive end in the class, per rivals.com, gets to Notre Dame, he may be called upon quickly. In 2021, the Irish depth chart should feature Isaiah Foskey and Justin Ademilola, but both may finish their careers that season despite having eligibility through 2023 and 2022, respectively. Polian and defensive line coach Mike Elston have been funneling in plenty of fresh talent along the defensive line, but junior Ovie Oghoufo and sophomore NaNa Osafo-Mensah have yet to get extensive playing time, which can obviously also be said of the two early-enrolled freshmen defensive ends.
(Note: All eligibility aspects mentioned in the previous paragraph assume a 2020 season.)