2019 Recruiting: LB Osita Ekwonu Commits to Notre Dame

Notre Dame landed the lucky 13th commitment in its 2019 class today when linebacker Osita Ekwonu announced for the Irish. Rumor has long held that the 6’2″, 220-pound North Carolinian was a heavy Irish lean, and he finally made it official today. Ekwonu was one of Clark Lea’s top targets in the class, and Lea pursued him accordingly. Ekwonu was in town last season for the USC game and returned for an official visit in April, when Notre Dame made a huge move in this recruitment. He was always interested in the academic side, and that visit sold him on the overall experience as well. It also didn’t hurt that the Ekwonus are very friendly with the Okwaras, who similarly call Charlotte home after emigrating from Nigeria.

Recruiting Service Rankings

247 Composite — 4 star (0.9237 rating), #190 overall, #7 ILB, #4 in NC

247 Sports — 4 star (90 rating), #336 overall, #14 ILB, #13 in NC

Rivals — 4 star (5.8 rating), #181 overall, NR position, #5 in NC

ESPN — 4 star (83 rating), #170 overall, #14 OLB, #5 in NC

Cohort

In addition to Notre Dame, Osita Ekwonu holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, and Tennessee, among others. Update your evaluation, 247…

Highlights

Check the play at the 1:04 mark. Ekwonu closes absurdly quickly from a very long distance, and hammers the guy when he gets there. In fact, the entire reel is play after play of Ekwonu flying downhill and smashing people. Back when Te’Von Coney committed I wrote that he arrives at the ball quickly, and in ill humor – that was my exact reaction to Ekwonu’s tape as well. He’s a violent and relentless player; couple that with plus athleticism, and you have a recipe for a pretty damned good football player. I can’t really find anything to complain about on here.

Impact

There will almost certainly be an opportunity for Ekwonu to get on the field early, but how much of an opportunity is hard to say. There’s a good chance that some combination of Asmar Bilal, Jon Jones, Jack Lamb, Bo Bauer, and Ovie Oghoufo will be entrenched as front line players in 2019, and that the five of them will make up a pretty stable rotation at the two linebacker spots. However, the staff has shown that they’re willing to get young guys in early, so there’s a chance Ekwonu could see spot duty. He might have to wait until his junior year to be a heavy contributor, but I definitely think he has the potential to be a key starter down the road. He has all the physical tools plus intelligence and an angry mentality.

Welcome to the Irish family, Osi!

By |2018-06-14T16:25:06+00:00June 14th, 2018|18S Reads|11 Comments

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irish_bandit_10gambit1077juiceboxhooks orpikRussell Knox Recent comment authors
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The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus
The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus

//drools

Orlok
Orlok

Just the good news I needed to improve my mood.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

They just seem to come in waves this cycle. We don’t get just one, we get a mini burst of three. I love it. Great article Brendan.

The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus
The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus

For those keeping score at home, that is a 7.5 minute highlight reel, and almost every second is impressive.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Is this shaping up to be ND’s best defensive haul of talent, like, ever? I would have to imagine with the 2018+2019 recruits on defense this has to be the best 2 year stretch of regarded talent for ND, right? Seems great, can Lea and Elston start recruiting offensive players now?

juicebox
juicebox

Here are the composite 4 star from the only other stretch that competes under BK.

’11: Lynch (#9), Williams (#26), Tuitt (#32), Hardy (#195), Councell (#202) plus Farley
’12: Shumate (#87), Day (#111), Russell (#146), Jones (#149), plus Okwara
’13: Smith (#2), Redfield (#30), Rochell (#113), Luke (#144), Randolph (#247), Onwualu (#303)

’18: Griffith (#70), Simon (#90), Lamb (#99), Allen (#106), Ademilola (#128), Bauer (#293), Boykin (#366)
’19: Osafo-Mensah (#109), Lacey (#147), Ekwonu (#190), Ajavon (#216), Spears (#279), Cross (#326), Wallace (#337),

The 11-12-13 had some serious top end talent. Man, BVG was a terrible hire/coach/recruiter. The current stretch doesn’t have those 5 star players (5 top 50 in 3 years!), but has better depth and covers more positions. Not sure which 2 year span I would pick.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Wow thanks for the legwork. Looks like this current stretch has more top-300 depth in total (assuming all pull through) but you’re definitely right about the top-heaviness of the studs at the top, even if Lynch didn’t stick.

By my count I see a total of 11 names you listed from 11-13 that are still in the NFL now, let’s hope we can say the same for at least that many in 7 years time for this newer generation (which obviously it’ll include a few non-top300 guys not listed here too)…

juicebox
juicebox

Yeah, it’s nice to finally have some NFL players to root for.

Also, ’19 should probably add at least one more to the list. 15 or more 4 stars in 2 classes is a full starting lineup of 4 stars, even accounting for some busts. We could have a scary defense in … counting… 2035? How freaking young are these kids exactly?

juicebox
juicebox

He hits hard. And seems to enjoy driving people into the ground.

gambit1077
gambit1077

247 Team Composite –
2017 – 10th
2018 – 10th
2019 – 6th (likely to fall to around… 10th)
2020 – 9th (too early to actually tell)

Looking at individual kids maybe we miss a few times we shouldn’t, but this is pretty encouraging.

irish_bandit_10
irish_bandit_10

I’m worried about balance, though. Our 2015, 2016, 2017 classes were all top-15 but were largely bare of defensive difference-makers. Now, it seems we’ve flipped the script and have strong defensive hauls in 2018 and potentially 2019. Can we get Denbrock and Alford back with our current defensive staff?