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.
#94 Isaiah Foskey, Defensive End
Although Notre Dame occasionally has big-time prospects commit on the traditional National Signing Day in February (Manti Te’o, DaVonte’ Neal), most NSD hat choices for top prospects are guys choosing the elite of the elite: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, etc.
For the Irish, their best recruits are typically wrapped up in a commitment (or nowadays, in an NLI thanks to Early Signing Day) at least a few weeks, if not months or even years, prior to that early February college football holiday. The Irish may add a few 3-star projects/diamonds in the rough at that time, but rarely do they add bonafide, 4-star studs.
That wasn’t the case with Isaiah Foskey, a 6’4”, 233-lb defensive end prospect from Concord, CA and De La Salle High School. Foskey was a 4-star prospect ranked 211th nationally by the 247sports composite rankings (#13 WDE, #28 prospect in California) and a 2019 Army All-American Bowl participant.
An elite athlete projected to be a very dangerous defensive end, Foskey was originally offered by the Irish back in 2017, and along the way also picked up offers from quite a few impressive programs (Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, Oregon, Florida, Penn State, Texas, USC, Utah, Washington, Miami, BYU, Arizona State, Tennessee), as well as Michigan.
After unofficially visiting South Bend in July 2018 and officially checking out ND’s top-10 stomping of Stanford in September, many thought the Irish were in strong position with the talented end — but nothing was certain, with no public commitment and no NLI on December’s signing day.
So, even though the Irish were considered the clubhouse leader to ink Foskey in February, Irish fans were of course still pleasantly surprised that such a highly-rated, clearly-talented prospect chose ND on a day that hasn’t always been kind to Notre Dame and its ability to land big prospects they expected to land.
Foskey arrived on campus the following summer, and flashed enough in practice to earn himself playing time in 4 games as a true freshman defensive end, including being called into duty in the season finale against Stanford.
He managed 5 total tackles and 1 QB hurry on the year while maintaining a year of eligibility, and also added blocked punt in some special teams work against the Cardinal.
Okay, hear me out here — Foskey is a massive man who can also move pretty damn well, and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t describe one of the greatest heroes of our time, Shrek.
Yeah, Isaiah dresses nicer and Shrek is about a billion times uglier, but look me in the eyes and tell you can’t see Mr. Foskey doing something like the below to any and all offensive linemen and running backs trying to keep him from the QB.
Strong yet agile, clever yet overpowering — Shrek is an incredible combo of size and speed, and so is Isaiah Foskey.
At 6’5” and 255 pounds now, and with the likes of Okwara, Khalid Kareem, and Jamir Jones moving on to professional careers, Foskey looks to be in a great spot to get significant playing time as a sophomore.
He will likely begin the year backing up Daelin Hayes while Adetokunbo Ogundeji starts opposite him, but Foskey will almost certainly be a big part of the rotation, especially on passing downs — his strong yet svelte 6’5” frame would be a terror for tackles to try to block and for QBs to try to both pass over, and outrun.
I expect Foskey will flash some brilliance in 2020 and set himself up to be a dangerous, experienced starter in 2021 (and 2022 and 2023 if he hasn’t left for the NFL yet) after the departure of Ogundeji and Hayes.