Coach Brian Kelly received his 23rd verbal commitment for the 2014 class today from Pete Mokwuah (Staten Island, NY - St. Joseph by the Sea). He is listed at 6'5"/305 lbs.
Mokwuah recently earned his offer from the Irish and was a top priority for new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. He has been committed to Rutgers since last summer, but earned attention from several national powers (including Alabama, Florida and Miami) after a strong senior season. He is scheduled for an official visit to South Bend next weekend (Jan 31st).
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 3 star (#71 DT, #4 NY), 77 Grade
Rivals - 3 star (#6 NY), 5.5 Grade
Scout - 3 star (#66 DT)
247Sports - 3 star (#52 DT, #8 NY), 86 Grade
247Sports Composite Score - 3 star (0.8377, #1067 Overall (#70 DT, #10 NY)
His hudl highlights can be viewed here.
Mokwuah certainly has the size to contribute on the defensive line as a freshman, but I believe that he takes the 2014 season to improve conditioning while improving overall technique. He could be pressed into service later in the season if necessary, much like Kona Schwenke was in 2010. He likely won't need to add much more weight (depending on overall defensive strategy moving forward), but redistributing it and adding muscle mass will be the main objective under the watchful eye of Paul Longo.
Mokwuah played both inside and outside on the line in his high school highlights. Since he is generally much larger and stronger than his competition, he tends to rely on these assets over technique. He has lots of potential for defensive line coach Mike Elston to work with and will be able to play in even (defensive tackle) or odd (nose guard or defensive end) looks. While he tends to stay a bit too high at the prep level, his motor and burst are great assets. Overall, he should be a mainstay in the defensive line rotation in a few years' time.
Welcome to Notre Dame Pete!