With the 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season behind us, we can start to look towards the future. Next up in the grand scheme of things is spring football. This series will provide a quick look at all the position groups for Notre Dame football as we enter winter workouts, and spring practice.
Notre Dame was incredibly stacked at defensive end in 2018. The Irish were able to get meaningful snaps from six different players in Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara, Daelin Hayes, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Jamir Jones, and Justin Ademilola. The only scholarship player that didn’t see time out on the field was sophomore Kofi Wardlow.
DE Snaps in 2018
The position wasn’t just deep — it was damn good. The talent level that the Irish have built up here is unlike anything we have seen in many years. You can’t deny that statement with the results they produced on the field. There were a total of 32 TFL’s, 16 sacks, and 39 quarterback hurries.
No imagine what could have been accomplished with less holds on these guys.
An often overlooked stat that the defensive line (defensive ends in particular) should get more credit for is the pass efficiency defense rank. In that respect, the Irish finished the season #6. The defensive ends put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and it proved to be a tremendous help.
DEPARTURES FROM 2018
NONE — and that’s pretty dope.
RETURNING FOR 2019
Notre Dame returns all six players that saw the field last season, plus Kofi Wardlow. There are also very strong rumors that Ovie Oghoufo will be making the move from linebacker to defensive end (much like Jamir Jones and Julian Okwara have already done).
Returning DE Production From 2018
|53 Khalid Kareem||13||42||10.5||4.5||0||5||8||0||1|
|42 Julian Okwara||13||38||12.5||8||1||1||21||0||1|
|9 Daelin Hayes||12||31||5||2||0||1||6||1||0|
|91 Ade Ogundeji||13||22||3||1.5||0||1||2||0||1|
|44 Jamir Jones||12||12||1||0||0||0||2||1||0|
|19 Justin Ademilola||4||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
The Irish were extremely fortunate to have both Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem return in 2019 — but even more so with Ade Ogundeji, Jamir Jones, and Daelin Hayes all returning as well. Five seniors to hold down the depth chart on both ends of the defensive line. That’s a great recipe for success.
NEW ADDITIONS FOR 2019
Notre Dame recruited pretty well at defensive end for this cycle and received three signatures:
- 4-Star NaNa Osafo-Mensah
- 4-Star Howard Cross III
- 4-Star Isaiah Foskey
With so many returning contributors for the Irish on 2019, it’s hard to imagine any of the three players seeing more time than the allotted four games that won’t result in the loss of a redshirt. NaNa is an early enrollee, so we will see right away this spring where he might be relative to the current depth chart — at least until fall camp.
“Pain,” as Clubber Lane would say. There is a lot gone at linebacker from 2019, so the Irish defensive line will have a lot on its shoulders. The thing is though... these defensive ends are built for that. Deep and talented, this position group is what should drive the defense all season long. Both Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem could be in the hunt for All-American status, and with the guys behind them, there will be a fresh rotation that should cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses.
RANDOM RANDOMNESS TO PONDER
How do you feel about ND’s defensive end situation in 2019?
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