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.
#57 Jayson Ademilola, Defensive Tackle
Jayson Ademilola committed to the Irish program on June 26, 2016. At the time of his commitment, Ademilola was readying to begin his junior year of high school. He signed his letter intent in December of 2017 to officially became a member of the 2018 Notre Dame recruiting class. He selected Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers, among others. 247Sports ranked him as the 5th best prospect in the state of New Jersey, the 12th best defensive tackle, and the 128th overall best player in the class of 2018. He was a consensus 4 star recruit. His twin brother, Justin, joined him in the 2018 Irish recruiting class. He attended St. Peter’s Prep in high school, and his hometown is Jersey City, New Jersey. He currently stands 6’ 3’’ and weighs 279 lbs.
Ademilola was forced into action almost immediately as a freshman after Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa suffered a broken foot in the season opener against Michigan. Playing in relief of Jerry Tillery throughout the season, he saw action in 11 of the 13 games. He recorded 17 games and a 0.5 tackle for a loss.
Last season, Ademilola again held the role as 2nd string defensive tackle, this time behind Tagovailoa-Amosa. He played in 11 of the 13 games, missing the Boston College and Stanford games due to an injured ankle sustained against Navy. He finished the year with 25 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, 2 quarterback hurries, and 1 pass break-up. Despite playing fewer snaps than both Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish, Ademilola led the defensive tackles group in tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, he also bested Tagovailoa-Amosa and Hinish in run-stop percentage. He registered a 10.3% stop rate, while Tagovailoa-Amosa had a 7.5% stop rate, and Hinish had a 3. 5% stop rate. Run-stop percentage is defined as the number of stops a defender makes against the run compared to the amount of snaps he played in run defense.
Jerry Tillery (Prior to 2017)
Two years into his career, Ademilola’s possesses shades of Tillery’s story. Both players came in as freshman that many thought could contribute immediately. During their freshman and sophomore seasons, each player demonstrated flashes of becoming a dominant defensive tackle. One of Tillery’s biggest issues was deciding where football fell on his priority list, while one of Ademilola’s biggest issues currently is that he is still a tad undersized for a defensive tackle. Ademilola, like Tillery, has struggled to maintain elite focus during practices and game. These lapses in focus have led to missed assignments, big plays for the opposition, and the inability to fully gain the trust of the coaching staff. Tillery turned the corner his junior season and became a 1st round pick after his senior season. Hopefully, Ademilola can do the same.
Jayson Ademilola stands to play a significant role along the defensive line this season. As it stands currently, Tagovailoa-Amosa holds the starting position at defensive tackle However, Ademilola’s explosion and ability to shed blocks is among the best on the defensive line. If he is able to display these traits consistently, the staff will find snaps for him. If Ademilola is able to develop into a consistent presence, look for him to force a timeshare with Tagovailoa-Amosa at the defensive tackle position.