Detroit-area defensive end Khalid Kareem became the 17th commitment in the 2016 Notre Dame football class on Sunday when he offered his pledge to the Irish. Checking in at 6'4" and 260 pounds, and an early entry to boot, expect to see Kareem on the field early and often next year. The 247 Composite has him as the #194 overall player, #9 strong-side defensive end, and #6 player in Michigan.
Kareem visited Notre Dame for Junior Day back in March, and seemed to have genuine interest. Michigan and Alabama soon overtook the Irish, though; in fact, right around the time of Irish Invasion (which he didn't attend), Kareem committed to Alabama. He decommitted last week and took an official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game. Rumor had it that the trip went very well, but Kareem was in no rush to make a decision. Brian Kelly and Keith Gilmore visited Kareem earlier this week, which seems to have been the final nudge that made Kareem comfortable with committing to the Irish now.
He shared the news on his Twitter feed:
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 4 star (5.8 rating), NR overall, #19 position, #9 in Michigan
247 - 4 star (93 rating), #176 overall, #8 position, #6 in Michigan
ESPN - 4 star (83 rating), #134 overall, #18 position (defensive end), #2 in Michigan
Scout - 4 star, #264 overall, #33 position (defensive end), #9 in Michigan
247 Composite - 4 star (0.9198 rating), #194 overall, #9 position, #6 in Michigan
In addition to Notre Dame, Kareem holds offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others.
Worth noting that among the "others" are Duke, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Yale. My boy's wicked smaht.
Kareem shows impressive burst for a guy his size, and pairs it with frightening strength. I don't know if I've ever seen so many Mortal Kombat Scorpion-style tackles ("Get over here!") on a highlight video. He handles double teams very well and plays run and pass equally well. He also has college-ready size already.
One area for improvement is tackling technique - occasionally he relies on sheer power to overwhelm a runner, tackling much too high and just bullying the ball carrier to the ground. Easy enough to work out of him with good coaching, which he'll definitely get from Keith Gilmore.
Kareem may need some work on technique, but physically and athletically he's ready to contribute right now. Add to that the fact that he's an early enrollee, and that Notre Dame will not have a firmly established depth chart at defensive end next year, and it's easy to see how Kareem could be an immediate player in 2016. I'm not ready to predict he'll start right away - that's asking a lot - but I definitely think he'll be in the rotation from Day 1.
Long Term / Career
On other hand, I'd be pretty surprised if Kareem doesn't have a real shot at a starting job as a sophomore, and I definitely think he'll be able to win the job by his junior year. Kareem has all the look of a multi-year starter.
Welcome to the family, Khalid!