Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2021

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 62 of 83 MARCH 2021 63 Notre Dame offered Chantilly (Va.) High class of 2022 defensive end Aiden Gobaira last May, and the 6-6, 230-pounder wanted to check out campus as soon as possible, but that proved difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA's recruiting dead period has been in effect since last March and will run through at least this April. However, Gobaira made it a priority to head out to South Bend to walk around campus for a self-guided tour with his mother, Digna, and Chantilly assistant coach Marc Matthie. Gobaira arrived in town Feb. 1, spent the following day touring cam- pus and left on Feb. 3. Two days later, Gobaira made his decision privately and took to social media Feb. 6 to make his Fighting Irish commitment public. "Why not Notre Dame is the ques- tion, really," Gobaira said. "You have a great academic school that's in the top 20 in the country. You have a football program that was just in the College Football Playoff. It's just the best of both worlds." He saw everything he needed dur- ing his campus visit, even though he hasn't been able to take a traditional recruiting visit where he'd be able to meet the coaching staff and tour the facilities. "The visit was about, 'Do I see my- self living here, do I see myself walk- ing to class here?'" Gobaira added. "It was amazing. It was a home feeling. Having Chicago only an hour and a half away, seeing the people around, they were just nice people. We had conversations with all these random Notre Dame students, and they were all so friendly. "I loved the church. I'm not even a religious guy like that, but the church was so beautiful. Walking around the campus — it just felt so inviting. … It was a great feel on campus." Penn State was considered the favor- ite to land Gobaira for several months, but the Irish pulled off the upset for the lengthy pass rusher. Notre Dame plans to use Gobaira, a three-star recruit, at the vyper defen- sive end position. "Sometimes I'll be playing two- point, sometimes I'll be playing three- point," Gobaira said. "Most of the time I'll be off the edge in a two-point stance." Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston has been in close contact with Gobaira since the scholarship offer went out, and they've formed a close connection. Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman joined the Irish staff in January, and one of the first prospects he talked with was Gobaira. "I love Coach Freeman," Gobaira said. "He's a really energetic coach who really seems like he knows what he's doing. I can't wait to keep talk- ing to him in the future. He's a great coach. "Coach Elston is also a great coach. I've been on the phone with him since May; we've built a pretty good rela- tionship. I've heard about all of the de- fensive linemen he's developed. He's a good, hands-on [teacher] and develops players for the league [NFL]." Gobaira also held offers from Ari- zona State, Boston College, Duke, East Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Minne- sota, Nebraska, Old Dominion, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Rivals ranks Gobaira as the No. 16 player in Virginia and the nation's No. 26 weak-side defensive end. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS "Gobaira is a big, explosive edge player that can get into the backfield on a consistent ba- sis, but he also possess the athleticism to play in space when needed. As a sophomore, Gob- aira played mostly with his hand in the ground but wasn't slowed down by offensive linemen that were sometimes bigger than him. "Now at 230 pounds, Gobaira was smaller and not nearly as strong last year, but you wouldn't know it when watching the film. He also has pretty advanced hand techniques and understands pass-rushing philosophies, which should really help him make an impact early in his college career. "Gobaira's quickness and motor also make him an impressive prospect. There aren't many players at his size that can change directions as fast as he does. The Fighting Irish strength and conditioning staff will have plenty of room to fill out his frame with solid muscle mass and keep him as fast and agile as the coaches need him to be in the open field." — Rivals East Coast recruiting analyst Adam Friedman COMMITMENT PROFILE AIDEN GOBAIRA Notre Dame Secures Pledge From 2022 Virginia Defensive End Gobaira is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals, but possesses intriguing size at 6-6, 230 pounds and is expected to play vyper defensive end. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM "Why not Notre Dame is the question, really. You have a great academic school that's in the top 20 in the country. You have a football program that was just in the College Football Playoff. It's just the best of both worlds." GOBAIRA

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - March 2021