Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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Page 78 of 99 PRESEASON 2016 79 BY COREY BODDEN Notre Dame continued its strong start in the 2018 class July 22 when Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison linebacker Ovie Oghoufo announced via Twitter his commitment to be- come the fifth member of the group. He felt Notre Dame was the best option for him to achieve his goals and to develop on and off the field. "It's a special place where I can grow as an athlete and a man in so- ciety," Oghoufo said. "Notre Dame is the place that I knew I could have the most success academically and athletically." The 6-2, 207-pounder picked the Irish over Michigan State, Michigan and several others. He said he was leaning toward this decision heading into his trip to South Bend. "I kind of knew about two days be- fore," Oghoufo said. "[The coaches] were really excited. I told Coach [Mike] Elston first." Notre Dame is recruiting Oghoufo as an outside linebacker. He said he likes to "play with a little savage." "I am a relentless player," Oghoufo said. "I love to find the ball and cause havoc in the backfield." Oghoufo brought his parents along for the visit, which was an early indi- cator a commitment could be coming after saying Notre Dame was tied at the top of his list with Michigan State heading into the trip. "It is important for them to be there to see how they feel about Notre Dame and if it's a place they like," Oghoufo said prior to the visit. Heading into the trip, Oghoufo was focused on obtaining a better idea of the school and the people he would be spending most of his time with if he were to commit to the Irish. "I wanted to get a stronger bond with the coaches and a better feel for Notre Dame," Oghoufo said. "I just want a better feel for the campus and the people I could be around." He will join his former teammate Khalid Kareem, who is a true fresh- man defensive lineman for the Irish. Oghoufo, who is ranked as the No. 238 player in the nation by Scout, will play both ways this season and attempt to build on his solid sopho- more campaign. "He started for us a sophomore, which is pretty unusual for our school," Harrison head coach John Herrington said. "He did a good job. He's very big on effort. He gives 100 percent. "His athletic talent is there. He's done really well out at outside line- backer, he can play down and he's also going to play tight end for us because of his blocking and he can catch the ball also." Herrington, who is vying for his 14th state championship at Harri- son, expects continued growth in Oghoufo's game from a 2015 cam- paign that saw the linebacker total 66 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles. "We think we've got a very good team this season, and he'll definitely be one of the leaders," Herrington said. "I think he will be an all-state player. He will be the leader of our defense, and we should really have an outstanding defense." The rising junior was the third de- fensive player to commit to Notre Dame in the 2018 class following the Ademilola twins, Jayson and Jus- tin. Since then, linebacker Matthew Bauer of Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep has also joined the 2018 defensive room. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Notre Dame wants and needs linebackers that can run, and that is without question Ovie Oghoufo's top strength as a football player … Has excellent sideline-to-sideline range, and a strong burst off the edge as a pass rusher … Possesses fine agility and foot quickness … His football movements are loose and easy, which allows him to change direction well … Shows good pursuit in the run game, and he displays naturally strong hands. Areas For Improvement Needs to get stronger and continue add- ing mass to his 207-pound frame … Tends to play and tackle high, which he must work on eliminating from his game over the next two seasons … The tools are there for him to be a strong run defender, but learning to better use his hands to get off blocks is needed. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE OVIE OGHOUFO Notre Dame Is A 'Special Place' For Michigan Linebacker Oghoufo is listed as the No. 4 prospect in Michigan and the No. 17 outside linebacker nationally in the class of 2018 by Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM "IT'S A SPECIAL PLACE WHERE I CAN GROW AS AN ATHLETE AND A MAN IN SOCIETY. NOTRE DAME IS THE PLACE THAT I KNEW I COULD HAVE THE MOST SUCCESS ACADEMICALLY AND ATHLETICALLY." OGHOUFO

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