Notre Dame went into Brian Kelly’s new backyard and pulled out a commitment from a top-tier linebacker. Few things pertaining to the Irish should be framed in reference to their former head coach, but it is hard to do otherwise in this case after consensus four-star linebacker Jaiden Ausberry (University Laboratory School; Baton Rouge, La.) committed to Notre Dame on Thursday.
Ausberry listed seven finalists in his recruitment, but it likely came down to the Irish and Tigers, despite Alabama, Michigan and Texas A&M being among those seven.
The No. 80 overall prospect in the class and No. 4 outside linebacker, per rivals.com, Ausberry is considered the No. 7 player in Louisiana. He focused his official recruiting visits in June, touring Auburn, Michigan, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Ausberry is a fast and decisive player. Taking notes of his highlight reel, those two adjectives are scribbled down multiple times. He aggressively chases quarterbacks who dare roll out of the pocket, and while that may burn him in college if not done with discipline, it further underscores his decisive play.
Ausberry is long enough to get his arms around a ball carrier as quickly as his chest hits him. That fast style will presumably need to be fine-tuned in coverage, but that is to be expected of nearly all high school linebackers.
The 21st commitment in the class for the Irish, Ausberry keeps Notre Dame’s class ranked No. 1 in the country by rivals.com. Alabama and Ohio State are ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, with only 18 recruits apiece, so the Irish may not remain atop the rankings into December’s early signing period, but simply competing with the best programs in the country should be the primary recruiting goal. (Especially since recruiting rankings can be misleading as soon as a program needs to add a specialist to its ledger, as one example.)
Ausberry is the third linebacker in the class for Notre Dame, joining consensus four-star Preston Zinter (Central Catholic High School; Lawrence, Mass.) and consensus four-star Drayk Bowen (Andrean H.S.; Merrillville, Ind.).
After Irish head coach Marcus Freeman — defensive coordinator for the vast majority of the recruiting cycle for the class of 2022 — pulled in a quartet of four-star linebackers in the current freshman class (though one has already moved to defensive end), the 2023 trio will add talented depth for Notre Dame’s defense.
Stockpiling positions in back-to-back classes like that is how programs like Alabama and Ohio State develop depth the rest of the country envies.
No days off💰 pic.twitter.com/Xo1SdroIno
— Jaiden Ausberry (@AusberryJaiden) July 9, 2022