Barajas named Butkus Award semi-finalist

Notre Dame four-star linebacker commit Josh Barajas of Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean was named a Butkus Award semi-finalist for high school players. He talks about receiving the esteemed honor, one of which less than 20 linebackers across the nation can claim such distinction.

"Shocked" was the first word out of Josh Barajas' mouth upon hearing that he had been named a national semi-finalist for the Butkus Award at the high school on Monday afternoon.

"No, not all all," Barajas said when asked if he was expecting to receive the honor. "I actually got a notification about it on Twitter and saw that my name was mentioned, so that's how I found out. I was really shocked."

In 2012, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith won the award.

"I got an official notice when I was first nominated earlier in the season," Barajas said. "So, I knew I was up for it, but seeing all those names on the list next to mine, it's such an honor. Those are all very big-time players going to big programs across the nation."

"They are going to evaluate my film some more and my mid-season highlights," Barajas added. "They'll start knocking off people from there."

Barajas credits his mindset of embracing expectation rather than letting complacency set in for the type of play on the field he's produced this season.

"I'm trying to play my role as a leader," Barajas said. "I am working to play up to my potential and live up to expectations. Just using my success so far as something to motivate me even more."

Similar to recent Irish quarterback commit Brandon Wimbush, Barajas once was was committed to Penn State.

"Coach (Matt) LaFleur asked me about him a while ago, like before the season started," Barajas said. "He was interested in him, so I reached out to him, but Wimbush said the only other school he was would consider would be Stanford because of their academics. I was like, 'Well, why not Notre Dame for that same reason?'"

"I couldn't believe it when he flipped," Barajas said. "It's awesome."

After defeating Hammond 61-7 in the Class 3-A Indiana state playoffs last Friday night, Andrean will take on Mishawaka (Ind.) Marian this weekend.

"It's going to be tough," Barajas said. "They're a really good team."

Notable pledge performances

***Denotes playoffs have begun

RB Josh Adams (Warrington, Pa., Central Bucks South) - Five carries for two yards and two receptions for 77 yards and one touchdown in 55-7 loss to Pennsbury... Adams was injured (ankle) in the first quarter.

***LB Asmar Bilal (Indianapolis, Ind., Ben Davis) - Won 49-38 against Pike (First round of Indiana 6-A state playoffs)

CB Nick Coleman (Kettering, Ohio, Archbishop Alter) - Four carries for 32 yards and one interception in 49-0 win over Carroll

CB Shaun Crawford (Lakeside, Ohio, St. Edward) - Five receptions for 50 yards, an 80-yard touchdown run, and one interception in 24-10 win over Moeller

WR Jalen Guyton (Allen, Texas, High) - Nine receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns in 63-17 win over Flower Mound

WR C.J. Sanders (Sherman Oaks, Calif., Notre Dame) - One touchdown run (47 yards), over 200 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in 28-21 win over Loyola

DT Elijah Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio, Moeller) - Four tackles in 24-10 loss to St. Edward

***DT Brandon Tiassum (Indianapolis, Ind., Park Tudor) - 10 tackles, one sack, one pass deflection and one touchdown on offense in 56-22 win over Cloverdale (First round of Indiana 2-A state playoffs)

CB Ashton White (Forestville, Md., Bishop McNamara) - Seven tackles in 31-15 win over St. John's

QB Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, N.J., St. Peter's Prep) - Eight-of-nine passing for 245 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 57 yards and one touchdown in 62-7 win over Union City

K Justin Yoon (Milton, Mass., Academy) - 27-yard field goal in 22-6 win over Governor's Academy... This was Yoon's first game back after suffering a back injury in the beginning of the season. Top Stories