Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY TODD D. BURLAGE Aiden Gobaira has a unique personal- ity trait that he doesn't routinely dis- cuss, until he was left with no choice after his mother let her son's secret out during the All-American Bowl all-star week in January. Big, tough defensive linemen have a persona to protect and don't talk much about their sensitive side. But Gobaira's gift for bringing smiles and comfort to children is something both mother and son value and appre- ciate. "I'm just always friendly," said Gob- aira, a favorite playmate anytime family friends brought their children over for a visit at the Gobairas. "And they're just so joyful. Seeing them have a big smile on their face puts a huge smile on mine." Already on campus at Notre Dame as a January enrollee, Gobaira now has to worry less about others and more about himself. A four-star player out of Chantilly (Va.) High School, Gobaira struggles to keep his weight up, in part, because he never stops moving and working, which made him a perfect candidate to arrive on campus early and let Irish strength coach Matt Balis get started. Playing at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds during the All-American Bowl, Gob- aira was one of the smaller defensive linemen at the event, but that didn't dissuade him from playing all across the line, even at the unfamiliar and un- natural nose tackle position. "I'm going to take the reps I can," Gobaira said. "If I need to play inside, I'll go inside and do the best I can." Projected as a vyper at Notre Dame — the more demanding of the two edge spots because it includes both pass rush and pass coverage responsibilities — Gobaira was excited just to get on cam- pus and let his story unfold. "If they need me to play end, I'll play end. If they need me to play tackle, I'll play tackle," Gobaira said of his new chapter and challenges. "I'll play where they need me to play." ✦ 'Ready For Anything,' Aiden Gobaira Is Primed For Next Step Gobaira recorded 100 tackles, 7.5 stops for loss and six sacks during his senior season at Chantilly (Va.) High. PHOTO BY MIKE SINGER BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 55 AIDEN GOBAIRA EDGE 6-5 · 230 CHANTILLY H.S. FAIRFAX, VA. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE consensus ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 174 19 5 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 271 32 10 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 27 11 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 83 6 4 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 169 17 6 STATISTICS • Notched 100 tackles, 7.5 stops for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one defensive score as a senior. • Had 63 stops, 11.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one defensive score during his junior year. NOTABLE • Born on Dec. 23, 2003. • 2022 All-American Bowl participant. • 2021 first-team All-State defense. • Two-time All-Region Player of the Year. • Two-time Concorde District Defensive Player of the Year. • 2021 Maxwell Football Club's National High School Defensive Player of the Year Award semi- finalist. • Grew up playing lacrosse. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Notre Dame on Feb. 6, 2021. • Enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2022. • Held offers from Boston College, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and others, but it came down to Notre Dame and Penn State. • Recruited by former defensive line coach Mike Elston. • Took official visits to Notre Dame in June 2021 and December 2021. 2022 PROJECTION • Gobaira is likely to redshirt as a true freshman this fall. THEY SAID IT Chantilly assistant Marc Matthie: "His level of questions and curiosity he had about how to per- fect his technique — we realized we weren't really dealing with the average high school player who just wanted to get his job done. "He would ask scenario questions, like, 'If the running back does this and the receiver runs this particular route …' Like, you don't even play line- backer. Just concentrate on rushing the passer. After a while he challenged us to help him become better. He was able to really understand what he was doing and ask questions about what he needed to go forward." National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming: "Gobaira is not the dominating defender he can become, but the scouts are enamored with his length, growth potential and quick feet. He cer- tainly shows the potential to become a dynamic pass rusher at the next level with a little bit more strength and weight. "The athleticism is certainly there. He uses his long arms to consistently knock down passes at the line of scrimmage and has the ideal height to play defensive end. He shows decent strength at the point of attack, but the key to his game is his quickness off the ball."

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