In modern college football, it is not possible to have too many elite defensive linemen, but Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame are considering testing that theory in the recruiting class of 2023. The Irish added a fourth notable defensive lineman in the class with the Saturday afternoon commitment from consensus four-star defensive tackle Devan Houstan (Saint James School; Md.).
All four commitments are either consensus four-star prospects or a five-star, the latter being defensive end Keon Keeley (Berkeley Prep; Tampa, Fla.).
Houstan is not as highly-regarded as Keeley, the No. 1 defensive end in the class, per rivals.com, but he does rank as the No. 14 defensive tackle. At 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, he already has much of the physique of a college lineman.
Houstan chose Notre Dame over Virginia Tech, South Carolina and Penn State, but also, most notably, Michigan and former Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston. Houstan’s brother, Caleb, spent the last year on the Wolverines basketball team, recently declaring for the NBA draft after one season of college basketball.
Devan Houstan is quick enough to rush off the edge in high school. Maryland high school football talent is not particularly strong, to be generous, but his clean releases around the tackles are still impressive. They are often helped by strong hands swatting blockers away.
He will have to adjust to the different game in college, both in moving to the interior full-time and in the massive ramp-up in opposing talent, but Houstan’s raw talent and ability to hold space are clear.
He is the 12th commit in Notre Dame’s class of 2023, a class of only four- and five-stars thus far. That did not directly draw Houstan’s attention, but it certainly helped the Irish cause.
“I wouldn’t say the recruiting class was a big part of my decision but it definitely factored in,” Houston said to rivals.com. “I looked at it as, ‘All these amazing players want to be there, why do they want to be there?’ I broke it down and dissected it and understood that you can get the best of both worlds at Notre Dame.
“In terms of the players there, I want to be in a room where I’m going to be pushed 24 hours a day, where I know the guy next to me could take my spot in a matter of seconds. That will constantly light a fire under my ass and it will make me a better player in general.”
— Devan Houstan (@DevanHoustan) May 7, 2022