A year ago, many looked at Nana Osafo-Mensah as the elite weak-side defensive end who was a “longshot,” destined to sign with Stanford, Texas, or a top SEC program. But here we are, just a few weeks away from Osafo-Mensah signing and shortly after, enrolling at Notre Dame.
According to Osafo-Mensah during his recent trip to South Bend, the Irish coaching staff made it clear that the drop end position is his future.
We don’t currently know where Julian Okwara will play football next fall. But we do know that behind Okwara and his fellow 2016 drop end Daelin Hayes is a shortlist of athletes – true freshman Justin Ademilola and unproven sophomore Kofi Wardlow.
With the pace in which Mike Elston rotated bodies along the defensive front this fall, it isn’t difficult to imagine Osafo-Mensah earning a role next fall, especially with an early start in the program.
Physically, the potential in this young Texan is boundless. His frame, length, and ability to bend is prototypical on the weak-side edge, and again, the body type Notre Dame has struggled to add.
With a background at the outside linebacker position, picking up the coverage aspect of the drop role could be a smooth process for the Fort Worth star. And from what Nolan Catholic head coach David Beaudin has shared with Irish Illustrated, work ethic and leadership will most certainly come easily to him.
In the end, if Okwara and Hayes were to return, it would be their final year at Notre Dame. Look for Elston to get Osafo-Mensah work early to prepare for an expanded role.