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


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…


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.


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!