Notre Dame is off to a good start along the defensive line, landing its top two interior targets in Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and Ridgely (Md.) North Caroline nose tackle Ja'Mion Franklin. The Irish also have a commitment from fellow St. Peter's standout Justin Ademilola, an end and the twin brother of Jayson Ademilola.
The Irish are looking to add at least two more edge players to the 2018 class, and it has made the final three for one of its top targets, Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge Joseph Ossai.
Ossai checked in at the Nike Football The Opening Regional in Houston at 6-4 and 217 pounds, but he has an impressive frame and should add a lot of good weight in the coming years.
He has an incredibly long wing spin and oozes potential as a player. Ossai has an impressive first step and surprisingly good power for someone that weighs just 217 pounds. He can beat blockers off the edge with his speed and he shows the power in his hands to finish off rushes in order to get to the quarterback. His closing speed is quite good and Ossai shows a knack for getting after the quarterback.
In Notre Dame's defense he projects best right now as a drop player, but with his frame and natural power he could easily grow into a strongside end down the road.
Despite his three-star ranking, Ossai has accumulated quite an impressive offer list. Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, TCU, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Mississippi State and Colorado are among the many programs to offer Ossai a scholarship.
Texas and Texas A&M landing in his final three is not surprising, but Notre Dame being in that group might have been a surprise to many, especially considering the fact he has yet to visit the South Bend campus.
The news did not come as a surprise to Blue & Gold Illustrated readers, as BGI reporter David McKinney recently wrote that Ossai held the Irish in high regard despite the lack of a visit. Here is what McKinney was able to dig up regarding Ossai and Notre Dame:
"Not a ton is known about the relationship between Notre Dame and … Joseph Ossai at this point, but in talking to sources close to the talented Texan here’s what we can tell you: Ossai is at the very least interested in Notre Dame. A visit this summer was being discussed, but doesn’t look likely now, but our source tells us that they believe Ossai will use one of his five official visits in the fall for a trip to South Bend."
Notre Dame still has work to do if it wants to catch Texas and Texas A&M, but getting a spot in his top three puts the Irish staff in good position. If it can secure the visit that was mentioned above the Irish could go a long way towards closing that perceived gap.
To get caught up on the recruitment of Ossai and the other defensive linemen left on the board for Notre Dame be sure to read the BGI Defensive Line Hot Board.