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Early Signing Day 2020: Meet Notre Dame’s Defensive Signees

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“We’ll go from Hawaii to New Jersey to find the right people.”

Landon Bartleson
@lbb_5 / Twitter

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish signed seven defensive players (and one long snapper) today during the early signing period. Here is a snapshot of the newest group.

JORDAN BOTELHO*

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

High School: St. Louis

Position: Inside linebacker, although the Irish intend to use him at defensive end

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 229 pounds

Senior season stats: 35 12 tackles, including 10 sacks; undefeated and a state champion; finalist for the Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s best linebacker.

247Sports Composite Ranking: 114th overall (#6 ILB and #1 in HI)

Other scholarships offered: 22 total, including Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes

Primary recruiters: Brian Polian and Mike Elston

From the experts: “The film would tell you the projection to defensive end is not as dramatic as we [sic] think it is. When you watch the tape, he’s rushing in a two-point stance and he’s very heavy handed. Like, when he strikes you, he’s punching you. He is a really unique combination of a high intensity, violent football player.” - Polian

Rearrange his name and you get: Not a job holder; other old banjo

RYLIE MILLS*

Hometown: Lake Bluff, Ill.

High School: Lake Forest

Position: Defensive end

Height: 6-foot-4 12

Weight: 250 pounds

Senior season stats: Forty-five tackles (14 for loss) and five sacks in seven games

247Sports Composite Ranking: #164 nationally (#8 SDE and #4 in Illinois)

Other scholarships offered: 28 total, including Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, Ohio State and LSU Tigers

Primary recruiters: Mike Elston and Tommy Rees

From the experts: “Rylie is a long-limbed, athletic edge rusher who has the flexibility to bend around the edge. He knows how to use his length, strong hands, and great size to his advantage.” - Tom Lemming, Rivals.com recruiting analyst

Rearrange his name and you get: El Silly Rim, Mr. Silly Lei

AIDAN KEANAAINA

Hometown: Englewood, Colo.

High School: J.K. Mullen

Position: Defensive tackle

Height: 6-foot-2 3/4

Weight: 302 pounds

Senior season stats: Seventy-seven tackles (13 for loss), four sacks, seven hurries, eight forced fumbles (two recovered) and one blocked field goal

247Sports Composite Ranking: #524 nationally (#47 DT and #6 in CO)

Other scholarships offered: 22 total, including Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State and Penn State Nittany Lions

Primary recruiters: Elston and Clark Lea

From the experts: “At the point of attack, Aidan is one of the best I’ve ever seen in high school. ... He has great hands, great feet, and he’s relentless. I’ve never seen him miss a tackle, and he loves to finish with a slam.” - Stan Richardson, Keanaaina’s high school coach, to the Denver Post

Rearrange his name and you get: Well, you don’t get anything because there’s just too many darn As.

CALEB OFFORD*

Hometown: Southaven, Miss.

High School: Southaven

Position: Cornerback

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 170 pounds

Senior season stats: Twenty-two tackles, 4 pass breakups, one interception, one fumble recovery (which he returned for a touchdown) and one forced fumble; 4.61 40-yard dash (per 247 Sports)

247Sports Composite Ranking: #511 nationally (#37 CB and #13 in Mississippi)

Other scholarships offered: 14 total, including Oklahoma and the Memphis Tigers

Primary recruiters: Terry Joseph and Lea

From the experts: “Tough and aggressive with very good instincts, he reads offenses well, reacts quickly, and closes fast on passes in front of him. Caleb also shows the burst and speed to cut in front of the receiver to make the tough interception.” - Lemming

Rearrange his name and you get: Led off cobra

LANDEN BARTLESON

Hometown: Harrodsburg, Ky.

High School: Boyle County

Position: Cornerback

Height: 5-foot-11 12

Weight: 181

Senior season stats: 37 tackles (21 solo), a sack and three interceptions; first-team All-State defensive back

247Sports Composite Ranking: #556 nationally (#29 Athlete and #6 in Kentucky)

Other scholarships offered: 10 total, including Michigan, Ohio State and the Wisconsin Badgers

Primary recruiters: Todd Lyght and Joseph

From the experts: “What I like about him is his length and speed. He has verified speed. He’s got the kind of versatility that I really like in a defensive back, especially with his experience on offense.” - Barton Simmons, 247Sports’ director of scouting

Rearrange his name and you get: Bent loner sandal

RAMON HENDERSON*

Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif.

High School: Liberty

Position: Corneback

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 180 pounds

Senior season stats: Twelve tackles (10 solo) and nine passes defended

247Sports Composite Ranking: #602 nationally (#32 Athlete and #54 in California)

Other scholarships offered: 11 total, including Oklahoma, the Utah Utes and USC Trojans

Primary recruiters: Joseph and Polian

From the experts: “Henderson is an intriguing two-way prospect who has the top-end speed and hands to be an elite playmaking receiver but the ball skills to be a cover cornerback. Creates separation and consistently gets behind the defender but needs to be consistent in his route running. Defensively, has the length and speed to recover and cover all types of receivers, but still raw in his technique.” - Brandon Huffman, 247Sports’ national recruiting analyst

Rearrange his name and you get: Manners honored

CLARENCE LEWIS

Hometown: Edison, N.J.

High School: Mater Dei

Position: Cornerback

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 180 pounds

Senior season stats: Three interceptions

247Sports Composite Ranking: #727 nationally (#58 CB and #17 in New Jersey)

Other scholarships offered: 15 total, including Minnesota Golden Gophers, Vanderbilt Commodores and Virginia Tech Hokies

Primary recruiters: Elston and Joseph

From the experts: “A speedy, athletic defender with excellent ball skills, Lewis played safety for Mater Dei but is expected to play cornerback when he heads to Notre Dame in the fall. The sticky-fingered Lewis was Mater Dei’s leading receiver with 39 catches for 639 yards. He scored five TDs. Lewis intercepted three passes, but most opponents often chose not to challenge him.” - Mike Kinney, NJ Advance Media

Rearrange his name and you get: Will see cancer; well since care

ALEXANDER EHRENSBERGER*

Hometown: Dusseldorf, Germany

High School: Theodor-Fliedner Gymnasium

Position: Defensive end

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 239 pounds

Senior season stats: Seven sacks, three forced fumbles, a safety, two blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries

247Sports Composite Ranking: #1373 nationally (#67 SDE and #2 in Germany)

Other scholarships offered: 2 total — Notre Dame and FIU Panthers

Primary recruiters: Elston and Lea

From the experts: “He is absolutely a rare body type with great length and the kind of physical maturity that he looks like he is already in college now. I think he will bring a maturity to Notre Dame that will serve him well in terms of his development.” - Simmons

Rearrange his name and you get: Hex reneger Arab lenders

ALEX PEITSCH

Hometown: Ellicott City, Md.

High School: St. John’s College

Position: Long snapper

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 205 pounds

247Sports Composite Ranking: #2816 nationally (#2 LS and #18 in D.C.)

Other scholarships offered: Notre Dame was the only college to offer him a scholarship, according to 247 Sports’ database.

Primary recruiters: Polian and Chip Long

From the experts: “Peitsch has been nothing short of dominant at every Kohl’s event he has attended. He is someone who pushes himself to be the best he can be in every aspect of sports and in life. Peitsch is truly a generational talent and will be able to make an immediate impact for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.” - Jamie Kohl of Kohl’s Kicking, as told to 247 Sports

Rearrange his name and you get: A schlep exit; Help is exact

The Irish also welcomed one graduate transfer, defensive back Isaiah Pryor.

Hometown: Lawrenceville, Ga.

High School: Archer

Position: Safety

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 202 pounds

Junior season stats with the Ohio State Buckeyes: Had three tackles in four games

247Sports Composite Ranking: #63 in the 2017 Class nationally (#8 S and #10 in Florida)

Other scholarships offered: 43 total, including Alabama, LSU and Clemson

From the experts: “I think he’s a strong safety. ... Very strong tackler. Doesn’t mind sending a message over the middle and hitting people.” - Mike Farrell, Rivals’ national recruiting director, to the South Bend Tribune

Rearrange his name and you get: Posh Airy Air

* Early enrollee