Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2014.
There were 11 players this past year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a stout tackle looking to break into the rotation next fall.
DT, Peter Mokwuah
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
247Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
3-star, No. 69 DT, No. 10 NY, No. 1045 USA, 0.8377 Score
Need at Position: Modest
Expected Spot on 2015 Depth Chart: Fighting for Two-Deep Reps
Now, here's a big kid. Like virtually every prospect, Mokwuah came into Notre Dame a couple inches shorter than his listed height by the services but he weighed in at a hefty 325 last August before the start of his freshman season. That weight was a bit more than anticipated, although to be fair, he really looked like one of the biggest linemen Notre Dame has recruited in years.
Here's what I had to say about Mokwuah after the 2014 National Signing Day:
Tough prospect to rate because he's so much bigger than everyone and is legitimately already at sufficient playing weight for Notre Dame's defensive line. Clearly he's not going to be a sack machine in college but Mokwuah's quickness is impressive for someone around 300 pounds. He moves a lot better than I thought he would and looks to have a nasty streak. I don't know if I'd call him a diamond in the rough because the consensus among experts is that he's very underrated relative to his ranking. I will say I like him better than Dickerson so I'll take that trade, so there.
I started this article thinking Mokwuah is probably another year away from playing but the great thing about this series is that you start to envision scenarios in which young players can make an impact once you revisit their skills and development.
Using our OFD recruiting grading scale we gave Mokwuah an average of 85.2 which puts him just above a raw prospect a couple years away from playing and in the lower section of the eventual starter with a chance to play as an underclassman. Using those averages he was tied for the 4th lowest rated recruit from the 2014 Irish class.
Probably not a good idea to get your hopes up for a 2015 breakout season.
However, working in Mokwuah's favor is that there are only a limited number of ideally suited 1-tech nose tackles on the roster who are capable of eating up blocks in the middle of the line. And the returning starter at the position (Jarron Jones) will be out until at least the summer recovering from a lisfranc injury.
That leaves 6-0, 325 pound (that's a really wide load) rising sophomore Daniel Cage coming off minimal playing time and 4 career tackles as the next prototypical nose tackle in line for reps. It's doubtful that any of the incoming 2015 freshmen will be used during the fall so this leaves Mokwuah as someone who could get two-deep reps on the interior right out of the gate in spring practice.
Mokwuah moved pretty well for his size as a senior at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School and in truth the staff probably covets his length a lot more than the squatty Cage.
Complicating matters is that Mokwuah doesn't offer much versatility, is likely exclusively a block eating tackle, while the defensive scheme isn't always going to be nice and tidy with a one-tech on the field at all times. For instance, even if Jarron Jones has a slow recovery the staff might give a lot of snaps to Sheldon Day and Isaac Rochell on the interior. With Jones healthy and back on the field it'll be tough for Mokwuah to crack the rotation unless he surpasses a couple other players with experience.