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, once again, 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 2021 season.
#98 Alex Ehrensberger, DE
When Alex Ehrensberger was recruited to Notre Dame as part of the 2020 class, it was certainly the Irish coaching staff taking a chance on a guy with impressive potential but who really needed to be developed. Ehrensberger, then a 6’7”, 238-lb SDE, was ranked the 1,380th player in his class and #70 at his position, probably partially just because he’s from Germany, but also because he came in as a bit of a project.
His offer list included two schools — Notre Dame and Florida International — and his 247sports profile was not exactly full of super well-researched information.
Ehrensberger, who hails from Dusseldorf and attended Theodor-Fliedner Gymnasium for high school (except for 6 months he spent in the U.S. as a high school sophomore in Maine), was somehow not even the highest-rated prospect coming from Germany in his class in the 247sports composite rankings — that honor instead went to 6’10” (!!!) UCF offensive tackle signee Paul Rubelt. To be fair, though, ESPN.com did rank Ehrensberger as the #1 player in Europe in the 2020 class, so that’s gotta count for something!
With Ehrensberger’s height, frame, and athleticism, though, it was clear he was worth the scholarship, and so after he committed in January 2019, he signed the following December and then enrolled mid-pandemic in June 2020 like many of his classmates, ready to play some football.
The now 6’7”, 252-lb defensive end played in one game during his rookie season with the Irish (USF), registering 2 tackles (both of them solo and for a loss, with one being a sack) and flashing some definite promise for a guy considered to be a much longer-term project in terms of reaching his full potential as a defensive end.
One final note: his UND.com profile for some reason includes a very small baseball picture at the bottom. Take that for what you will.
The Restaurant That Fits
If you’re not familiar with Indianapolis-area German restaurants/bars then you might not know this spot (similar to how Ehrensberger was pretty unheralded and unknown since he played most of his high school ball in Germany), but it’s an awesome place with great beer and food and is a cool event space, having the potential to really wow people once they give it a shot.
I love that the only Rathskeller pictures in Getty Images involve Minnie Driver and Josh Brolin (and some actors from ER) at an Indy 500 party there.
Ehrensberger’s got a lot of potential (and a super fun name to shout), but at least for next season he will still be relegated to a depth role — one in which he will only see playing time during garbage time or on special teams.
There are just too many experienced and ready-to-play-now defensive ends ahead of him in the pecking order: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Isaiah Foskey, Justin Ademilola, Jordan Botelho, and probably NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Osita Ekwonu.
Ehrensberger probably slots in at the “Big” defensive end spot (MTA, Ademilola, Osafo-Mensah) as opposed to “Vyper” (Foskey, Botelho, Ekwonu), so barring some catastrophic injuries to a few of those guys, Ehrensberger’s time to shine probably won’t come until 2022 or even 2023/2024, depending on how quickly he comes along.