Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 36 of 55 JUNE/JULY 2019 37 BY MIKE SINGER Lake Forest (Ill.) High strongside defensive end Rylie Mills became Notre Dame's fourth defensive line commitment in the 2020 class May 6. The 6-5, 270-pound prospect an- nounced his decision on Twitter, and it was huge news for the Irish. The four-star prospect held schol- arship offers from the likes of Ala- bama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma, before coming down to a top three of Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin. After mulling through his options, Rivals' No. 155 overall recruit in the country decided on Notre Dame. "It was a tough choice; I had three good options," Mills said. "In think- ing about what's important to me as a person and what would actually be the best fit as a school, I thought Notre Dame was the best school for me as a student. "They bring the best of both worlds with high class academics and they also play super competitive football." The Notre Dame coaching staff was also important in Mills' decision-mak- ing process. He built a really strong relationship with defensive line coach Mike Elston and liked the plan laid out by defensive coordinator Clark Lea. "They meant a lot," he explained. "I want to have a really good relation- ship with my coaches. I've known Coach Elston for a couple years and it's been really good getting to know him because he's a great guy. "He treats his players really well, and that was something I was look- ing for. He's coached me before [at a Notre Dame camp], and the way he coaches clicks with me. We have a good relationship. "Having a defensive coordinator who really backs you up is impor- tant. I was super excited to hear that the defensive line coach and defen- sive coordinator both had a plan for me to be successful at their school." Mills is being recruited at strong- side defensive end by the Fighting Irish, but he also has the size and skill to move inside to play defensive tackle. He may even line up at both positions. "The biggest thing for me is do- ing whatever the coaches need me to do," the nation's No. 10 strongside defensive end said. "I think I have enough quickness where I can be le- thal as a five-technique and rush the passer, but I do think I'm versatile and I'm big enough to move inside and get a mismatch against a guard. "That's one thing I bring to the table, and it's important that you wouldn't have to take me off the field." Mills wanted to get his commit- ment out of the way before his senior season. He felt like he owed it to his teammates and coaches to have his full focus on a big 2019, especially af- ter his team went just 5-5 last season. "It was pretty important to me because my coaches and teammates have been with me through this en- tire process," he said. "They've been really good with me. It's a good group of guys. I really want to be a leader on the team, and that's a big deal for me. "I want to go out there in my last year and give 100 percent to them. If I was distracted by recruiting, I feel like I'd be doing them a disservice. I want to be there and have a great season with them." Mills took an official visit to Notre Dame April 5 and connected with his future teammates, which was very important for him to do. "I feel like I click with a lot of peo- ple and make friends really quickly," he stated. "That was one of the big- gest things when I was choosing Notre Dame — how I felt with the players. When I went on the visit, I felt comfortable with all of the guys. It will be fun meeting new people from different areas and different cultures. "I'm really excited to be a part of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and get to be with all of those guys." Mills, who is ranked as the No. 3 recruit in Illinois by Rivals, compiled 37 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four sacks en route earning honor- able mention all-state and first-team all-area honors as a junior. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Rylie Mills is a versatile defender that plays defensive end, defensive tackle and over the center for Lake Forest … Long and powerful defender with an excellent frame … Could streamline his body and stay in the 270-280 range or continue adding bulk and become an athletic 300-pounder … Has the athletic traits to be a run-setting defensive end or a disruptive, playmaking defensive tackle … Shows strong hands, does a good job keeping blockers off his body and can quickly disengage and get to the ball … Makes a lot of plays in the backfield due to his combination of instincts, quickness and power. Areas For Improvement Needs to do a better job exploding his feet through tackles and play with improved pad level when he arrives at the ball … At times will stand up at the snap and lose leverage …. Will shoot his hands late at times, so more consistency is needed in that area. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE RYLIE MILLS Fighting Irish Add Four-Star Defensive Lineman Mills could play on the edge at defensive end or inside at defensive tackle on the next level, just like he does at Lake Forest High. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL "I thought Notre Dame was the best school for me as a student and they bring the best of both worlds with high class academics and they also play super competitive football." MILLS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - June-July 2019