Class of 2017: Defense
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, February 2, 2017
As Notre Dame’s commitments sign their letters of intent Wednesday, the Observer Sports staff will update this page, as well as the one tracking offensive and special teams signees.
The Irish have now signed all 18 players committed to the school at the start of the day and have added three commits on National Signing Day. There are no more signees expected.
Last updated: 2:11 p.m.
6’1” • 225
Central Catholic High School
Three-star linebacker David Adams verbally committed to Notre Dame in March and will join high school teammate Kurt Hinish in South Bend as members of the class of 2017. Hinish played defensive tackle and Adams played linebacker for Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, totalling 95 tackles, five sacks and an interception in his senior season.
Adams is at his best when he gets to play downhill in run defense or in obvious pass-rush situations. Adams does not avoid blocks so much as he runs through them to reach the quarterback or ball-carrier. Adams is listed at 6 feet, 1 inch and 225 pounds.
6’4” • 295
Lake Taylor High School
The Irish gained a valuable addition for their defense from Norfolk, Virginia in Darnell Ewell. A defensive tackle, Ewell attended Lake Taylor High School and verbally committed to the Irish on July 15. With his speed, agility, and strength, Ewell is not afraid to take his opponent head-on. Considering his 6-foot, 4 inch-stature and skill set, Ewell could be able to compete from the moment he steps on Notre Dame campus. He is able to shock the offense before breaking through and taking down runners. His level of intensity and physical capabilities under continual development should allow him to become a strong collegiate player and a boost to the Irish front seven.
6’2” • 205
Cathedral Catholic High School
Notre Dame received good news on Jan. 26 when safety recruit Jordan Genmark-Heath announced via Twitter that he had decommitted from California and committed to Notre Dame. Genmark-Heath committed to Cal back in October, but rescinded his commitment because of coaching changes in the program. Genmark-Heath, who attended Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, visited Notre Dame on an official visit the weekend of Jan. 20-22. Genmark-Heath is currently ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 67 athlete in the class and the No. 73 player in the state of California. He is listed by Rivals.com at 6 feet, 2 inches and 205 pounds.
Genmark-Heath is an important get for the Irish, who are thin in recruits for the secondary. At safety, Genmark-Heath recorded 65 tackles, four interceptions and five pass-deflections during his senior year, leading Cathedral Catholic to a 15-0 record and a state championship. Genmark-Heath received first team All-State honors. Genmark-Heath also played running back for Cathedral Catholic.
6’3” • 283
Central Catholic High School
Kurt Hinish, an athletic defensive tackle, has great potential to be an asset to the Notre Dame defense. From Pittsburgh, the Central Catholic High School product is a force to be reckoned with, especially with his ability to be extremely fast off the line of scrimmage. Hinish had notable offers from Baylor, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Tennessee among others.
Listed at 6 feet, 3 inches and 283 pounds, Hinish has a big frame with great quickness to get into the backfield, with plenty of room for development on his game. Hinish joins teammate David Adams in the Notre Dame recruiting class of 2017. Hinish was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and will look to make a name for himself given the opportunity.
6’4” • 253
Bishop Moore Catholic High School
Three-star defensive end Jonathon MacCollister committed to Notre Dame on June 17. Ranked 45th nationally at the defensive end position, MacCollister stands at 6 feet, 4 inches and 253 pounds. He is a native of Orlando, Florida, where he attended Bishop Moore Catholic High School. Throughout his high school career, MacCollister showed the ability to get after the quarterback as well as to stand strong against the rushing attack of his opponents. He’ll look to continue much of the same at Notre Dame, the school he chose ahead of 36 other offers from the likes of Ohio State, Auburn, Florida State and many more. MacCollister recorded 42 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles last season.
6’2” • 188
Bethel High School
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a 6-foot, 2-inch 188-pound linebacker from Hampton, Virginia. Originally committed to Virginia, Owusu-Koramoah decommitted and visited both Notre Dame and Michigan State in the finals weeks before Signing Day. The three-star linebacker, who informed Irish head coach Brian Kelly of his commitment during Kelly’s presser, is ranked as the No. 40 outside linebacker prospect by Rivals.com.
Under new defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Owusu-Koramoah looks to be a good fit in the rover position and figures to be utilized in quarterback-spy situations. Owusu-Koramoah has good size and could see play at linebacker at some point in the future if he puts on weight.
6’2” • 185
Neuqua Valley High School
Although Robertson also excelled as a kick returner and wide receiver for Neuqua Valley High School, the Notre Dame coaching staff believes Robertson will be most impactful playing in the Irish secondary. The four-star, 6-foot-2 inch, 185-pound athlete from Naperville, Illinois, is rated as No. 4 prospect from Illinois and the No. 202 overall prospect, according to Rivals.com. If his slimmer frame starts to fill out, Robertson should be even tougher, as he already plays the ball well in the air and is not afraid of contact.
Robertson enrolled early, which means he is taking classes on campus and participating in workouts, with a chance to make a name for himself this spring in a young Irish secondary.
6’4” • 270
Kapolei High School
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is a 6-foot, 4-inch, 270-pound defensive lineman out of Kapolei, Hawaii, who received serious buzz going into signing day. The three-star defensive tackle boasted thirteen Division I offers, including USC and Washington, but committed to the Irish on Signing Day.
Tagovailoa-Amosa is a high-motor player who has both the size and athleticism to get into the backfield and make plays in run defense. He finished last season with 18 sacks as a senior in high school, and is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Hawaii by Rivals.com. He proves to be a strong addition to a defensive line that could use his athleticism up front to improve upon last year’s pass rush.
6’3” • 230
St. John’s College High School
Three-star recruit Kofi Wardlow is a weakside linebacker, who can play defensive end, from St. John’s College High School in Washington. He is a member of the class of 2017 listed at 6 feet, 3 inches and 230 pounds. Rivals.com has him ranked 47th for his position and as the seventh overall recruit from the District of Columbia. Wardlow is known for his speed rush and his ability to put pressure on the quarterback from the edge. In only his second season of playing football, Kofi finished his senior season with 84 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. Wardlow was committed to Maryland up until Signing Day, when he committed to Notre Dame.
6’1” • 225
St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Joining David Adams as one of two inside linebacker commits in the 2017 class, Drew White has drawn comparisons to current Irish safety Drue Tranquill. The 6-foot-1 inch, 225-pound St. Thomas Aquinas product is a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com. White committed to Notre Dame last March, choosing the Irish over offers from Michigan, Ohio State and LSU.
On film, White constantly delivers big hits while displaying both speed and explosiveness. Considered an impassioned leader at St. Thomas Aquinas, White could eventually captain the Irish defense at the middle linebacker position, while also having the speed to potentially play on the outside in sub packages under defensive coordinator Mike Elko.