The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#19 Justin Ademilola, Defensive Lineman
Justin Ademilola came to South Bend in the class of 2018 alongside his twin brother Jayson and Rover linebacker Shayne Simon, all hailing from St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey. Unlike his brother and Simon, Justin was not a 4-star prospect, but because of his obvious potential (125 tackles, 24 TFL, 16.5 sacks in his junior and senior seasons of high school ball) and his brother’s higher ratings, he was still a very highly-sought-after recruit.
The 3-star weak side defensive end was 35th at his position according to 247sports and the 16th-best prospect in New Jersey, and considering his brother’s status (#45 in 247’s rankings, #128 in the 247sports composite rankings), Justin saw plenty of interest from all the top schools, including offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, and Penn State.
The 6’2”, 240-pound recruit committed to and signed with the Irish, just like his brother, and despite the lesser immediate impact he was expected to bring to ND, Justin was still strong enough to see action in 3 games as a true frosh, making 7 total tackles in appearances against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Florida State during that 12-0 season.
In 2019, the sophomore played in 8 games, making 9 tackles (1 for loss) and recovered a blocked punt in the season finale at Stanford. He’s been a solid depth piece for the Irish for two seasons, and stands to continue to press for PT as he works his way into his upperclassman years.
Asian Black Bear
At 6’2” and 250 lbs, Justin Ademilola is a nice combo of being big and strong while also being fairly mobile — he’s got classic defensive end traits. So, I decided a bear would be incredibly fitting for him as a strong and fairly mobile predator, and landed on the Asian Black Bear as my choice.
Asian Black Bears are extremely aggressive and dangerous, and despite being large animals, can also move pretty well, considering they’re known as the most bipedal of all bear species and can walk on their hind legs for up to a quarter-mile.
Give me that dangerous, mobile combo in an ever-improving upperclassman defensive end, every time.
The two starting defensive ends are essentially locked in for Clark Lea’s defense in 2020, what with Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji both returning for their 5th years in gold helmets.
However, the depth chart behind those two is pretty wide open due to a lot of young, unproven talent, and so an experienced and veteran guy like Ademilola has a great shot at seeing significant playing time in 2020.
He will likely be the #2 guy behind Ogundeji, and although highly-touted rising sophomore NaNa Osafo-Mensah will be nipping at his heels for PT, I expect Ademilola to get plenty of action this year and really compete for a chance to prove he should be a starting defensive end as a senior in 2021 (with a 5th year possible in 2022).