The peak of edge rushers for Notre Dame was the 2019 season. To say the Irish were loaded in defense would be an understatement.
Five defensive ends from this team have made it onto NFL rosters. Four of them were picked up. They even brought down two of those players with season-ending injuries and they were still tough enough not to burn a red shirt from Isaiah Foskey.
He’ll make five of that group that was drafted when he’s selected by an NFL team next spring, but for now, Notre Dame fans can enjoy another season of striped bags by him. .
Expectations were high for Foskey heading into the season, but they were tempered after a camp where he didn’t exactly dominate. In hindsight, it might have more to do with Blake Fisher’s quality than a hit against Foskey.
He will face Fisher and Joe Alt again in camp and if Foskey gets the better of those two, then he could be on his way to an even better season than he had last year.
Justin Ademila had an outstanding year in many ways in 2021. He won a spot by rushing the passer on 3rd down and was quite effective. If he continues on this upward trajectory, it would do much to take away all the extra attention from protection programs that Foskey is sure to receive.
Ademilola always delivers with effort on the pitch. What I’m looking for from him in August is more consistency, so the difference between him and Foskey at Vyper becomes smaller.
The Irish moved two Vypers, Jordan Botelho and Will Schweitzerat linebacker. Kahanu Kia is currently on a Mormon mission, which leaves Joshua Burnham like the only other Vyper.
The top-notch linebacker rookie has a lot of skills that should translate well to this spot, so a move wasn’t unexpected. He has star potential. It will be interesting to see where Burnham is physically with his weight and strength this summer as he is most likely in line with the red shirt unless he proves he is already ready for a role in a new position. .
If he still has a long way to go, I don’t think the staff would hesitate to move Botelho there and we could still see him rush the passer off the edge this fall.
Rylie Mills moved to the other end in the spring and it makes sense with 3-tech’s crowded depth chart. That gives Mills a chance to earn a starting spot and he’ll likely be there to start against Ohio State provided he performs well in camp.
Like Khalid Kareem and Ade Ogundeji, Mills is likely to rush the inside passer on 3rd down. That’s where he had the most impact both in the Blue-Gold game and against Virginia last fall.
NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Alex Ehrensberger both had beautiful spring lightning which suggests the depth should be better than expected. Last year it was seen the wrong way when Myron Tagovaiola-Amosa was not on the court at the end of the first tries and Notre Dame needs that not to be an issue this season.
If either of them steps in and pushes Mills to get some playing time, that would be great news for the Irish. It could end up being both.
There’s something to be excited about Aiden Goibara and its future. We’ll find out if the future is now for him and if being on campus as an early entrant puts him in a position to skip the line at the end.
I wouldn’t bet he’s going to be a rotation guy this season, but he’s on the roster of freshmen with the kind of talent that might surprise some people at camp. Mens Heather Gray Throwback Helmet Shirt