Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2023

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

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52 PRESEASON 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY MIKE SINGER T h e ba t t l e b e twe e n No t re Da m e and Ohio State on the gridiron takes place Sept. 23, but the Irish got a win over their Midwest rival two months before the two juggernauts will take the field. On July 23, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco class of 2024 linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa announced his commit- ment to Notre Dame over Ohio State. He was also closely considering USC down the stretch. Each program in his top three seemed to have momentum for Viliamu-Asa in different stages of his recruitment. In the last few weeks leading up to his de- cision date, Ohio State seemed to have the most buzz. But Notre Dame pulled off the upset. "I don't have to compromise. I get the best of both worlds in academics and football," Viliamu-Asa told On3's Chad Simmons about his decision to pick the Irish. "Regardless of if I make it in foot- ball, I'll be set to achieve my aspirations off the field." Viliamu-Asa is a marquee addition to Notre Dame's 2024 recruiting class. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is a longtime Irish target who is ranked as a top-100 player nationally by both Rivals (No. 35) and 247 Sports (No. 87). All four of the major recruiting websites view him as a four-star prospect. On3 rates Viliamu-Asa as the No. 27 linebacker in the country and the No. 30 recruit in California. He is the No. 14 prospect in California, and the No. 11 linebacker and No. 136 overall player nationally in the On3 Industry Ranking, a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings and rankings from all four pri- mary recruiting media services. "It bounced back and forth between the three [schools]," Viliamu-Asa said. "It was probably the toughest decision I've had to make." Viliamu-Asa informed the Notre Dame staff of his decision the night be- fore his announcement. That was the same day that he told his own family, showing how difficult of a decision it was for Viliamu-Asa to make. He ad- mits that Ohio State did have the lead for him at one point this summer. USC did as well. "After every visit, I felt really good," he said. "I felt really good about SC after that visit. It bounced back between the two of them. After the visits, I could re- ally see myself at SC and could see my- self at Ohio State. I couldn't see myself at Notre Dame. "What solidified it for me was I took this past week to seek God's will for me. I read Hebrews 11:1, and it talks about faith is the assurance of what we can't see. I feel like God was telling me that he wanted me to trust him, and he already had it in place. "Notre Dame is a great school. This is the place I'm going to be locked in at. It's a 40-year decision, and I'm going to get a great education and compete at a high level." The Notre Dame staff also played a big role in Viliamu-Asa's decision. "They were the same throughout the whole process," he noted. "These last two weeks, they gave me space to re- ally think about what I wanted to do instead of pressuring me. That really spoke volumes. "They've been transparent through- out the whole process and genuine. They've communicated with me and my family, and that was really important to me." It would be certainly understandable if he felt stressed in making his choice between the three programs, but that wasn't the case for Viliamu-Asa. "I was trusting God's plan," Viliamu- Asa stated. "I knew eventually he'd di- rect me in the right path. I was confi- dent in what he had planned for me." He had the close-to-home option with USC, but he's taking his talents across the country. It's a challenge he embraces. "For the location situation — I'm ex- cited to be in a place that I'm not famil- iar with," he said. "It'll force me to grow and grow up. I feel like it's going to make me better." Viliamu-Asa was named the Southern Section All-CIF Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. He finished 2022 with 111 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 fumbles and 1 interception. He missed the 2021 season because of an ACL injury that occurred in Bosco's final spring game of the 2021 COVID-19 make-up season. Viliamu-Asa was named to the 2022 MaxPreps High School Football Junior All-America first-team defense. He helped lead St. John Bosco to a 13-1 re- cord last fall that resulted in a CIF Open Division state title and being crowned MaxPreps national champions. ✦ Top Linebacker Target Picks Notre Dame Over Ohio State FILM ANALYSIS "We just found our future Mike linebacker. If this kid doesn't start as a true freshman, I'd be shocked. I truly mean this … He's a special player. He's got the size to play inside linebacker and has a tremendous feel for the game. Viliamu-Asa plays the alpha, A-ball in California. "He can do it all — cover the pass, play the inside run and is very stout but can cover ground. He can suck in running backs. I'd be shocked if the kid doesn't get on the field as a true freshman. I'm thrilled over here." — Blue & Gold Illustrated football analyst Mike Goolsby COMMITMENT PROFILE KYNGSTONN VILIAMU-ASA Viliamu-Asa recorded 111 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks during his junior season at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco on his way to being named the Southern Section All-CIF Defensive Player of the Year. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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