The Islands gave another gift to Notre Dame today when blue-chip WDE Jordan Botelho announced his commitment to the Irish. The 6-3, 230-pound Hawaiian profiles perfectly to the drop end position that Julian Okwara rather magnificently occupies today; we’ll get into this more below, but position isn’t close to the only thing Okwara and Botelho could have in common. Botelho is an exceptional athlete at a position of constant need, which should have Irish fans pretty jazzed about his commitment.
Botelho’s recruitment heated up in a hurry. He had expressed some interest in Notre Dame for a while, but at a level that seemed more akin to curiosity than desire. That changed when he took an official visit with his parents and sister for the Blue-Gold game. The Irish clearly made a big impression, reportedly on the entire family, and it accelerated very quickly from there. Mike Elston and Brian Polian deserve a ton of credit for working hard on this recruitment and showing Botelho how he would fit on the team and on campus.
Notre Dame Football’s Growing
Polynesian Hawaiian* Presence
Brian Polian cemented his recruiting legend with the Manti Te’o recruitment way back in 2008/09, and picked up where he left off when he returned to campus a couple of years ago. You’re already familiar with Alohi Gilman and Myron Tagavailoa-Amosa. Marist Liufau is most likely coming in this season as well. Botelho said before his visit that a campus Poly presence wasn’t that important to him, but he also said it was good to have MTA as his host. It probably also doesn’t hurt that Notre Dame’s new DL grad assistant is Keli’i Kekuewa; Kekuewa went to Kamehameha High, which is within a 20 minute drive of both Punahou, where Te’o and Robby Toma went (and Toma now coaches), and St. Louis, where Botelho goes. Obviously there’s a strong self-interest element to Notre Dame recruiting the Islands, but I think there’s also something about Notre Dame, about its spirituality and family atmosphere, that speaks to Hawaiian kids. Kudos to the staff for finding a better way to communicate that message than we’ve seen in quite some time.
Recruiting Service Rankings
247 Composite — 4 star (0.9477 rating), #105 overall, #3 ILB, #1 in HI
247 Sports — 4 star (96 rating), #34 overall, #2 ILB, #1 in HI
Rivals — 4 star (5.8 rating), NR overall, #24 OLB, #1 in HI
ESPN — 4 star (82 rating), #132 overall, #7 OLB, #1 in HI
ISD — 4 star (95 rating), #38 overall, #4 LB, #1 in HI
In addition to Notre Dame, Jordan Botelho holds offers from Arizona State, Cal, Georgia, Kansas State, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, and Wisconsin, among others.
I think Botelho lets blockers get into his body a little too easily, but I’m sure Elston can coach that out of him pretty quickly. I’d also like to see more of an initial punch; on a number of his pass rushes, he jumps off the line but doesn’t engage the tackle right away. At the next level he’ll get eaten up doing that, but again, it’s a pretty correctable technique point.
Now, with those very minor negatives out of the way… Wow, can this kid move. He’s an absolute terror off the edge, whether he’s bending around a tackle or looping inside to shoot past a guard. His agility, acceleration, and motor are excellent. When he uses his hands, he’s violent with them. He looked pretty good in run support too; slides his feet well, takes on blocks, keeps his head up and on the ball carrier. He closes quickly and is a sure tackler. And when he gets a guy lined up, man, his hits change people’s direction. Drool.
I mentioned above that Botelho and Okwara share more than a position. Watching this film, Botelho is a little thicker but reminds me a lot of Okwara coming out of high school. Similar frames, similar athleticism… and similar ceiling.
Botelho will likely walk into a fairly favorable situation regarding the depth chart in 2020. Julian Okwara will be gone, and the drop end position will most likely rest with Justin Ademilola and Ovie Oghoufo; 2019 signees NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Isaiah Foskey both seem more likely to eventually end up on the strong side. I certainly wouldn’t predict that Botelho would be able to beat out either of the then-juniors at drop, but with just them ahead of him he’ll have a great chance to at least contribute. Much will depend on how he develops physically during his senior season. Looking further down the road, he has an extremely high ceiling and could very well terrorize college tackles like he does high schoolers now. This is a big, big get for the Irish.
Welcome to the Irish family, Jordan!