It’s Irish for Okwara
Notre Dame picked up its fifth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Tuesday evening when four-star defensive end Julian Okwara announced his Irish pledge via Twitter.
“After many months of research and visits, I have decided to commit to play football at the University of Notre Dame,” Okwara said. “Notre Dame felt like the right place for me to be academically and as a football player.”
Okwara is the younger brother of Irish defensive lineman Romeo Okwara, who is expected to start at rush end this season.
“I can’t thank (my brothers) enough, who motivated me to be better at everything I do, no matter what it is,” Okwara said.
The product of Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, N.C., chose Notre Dame over offers from Boston College, California, Duke, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
“With (Notre Dame) being the top business school in America, it felt like the right place to further my education,” Okwara said. “Being on that campus opened my eyes to so many opportunities.”
Irish assistant Mike Elston headed the recruitment of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound athlete for Notre Dame, although defensive line coach Keith Gilmore offered Okwara while he was on staff at North Carolina.
“Spending time with the coaches and players, it felt like I was already part of the team up there,” Okwara said. “I am truly blessed. Thank you to all the coaches who recruited me. This would have never happened without your belief in me.”
Notre Dame took the lead in Okwara’s recruitment following his March visit, which was his fourth stop on campus.
On April 3, Okwara announced a top five of Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ole Miss. Less than two weeks later, Okwara elected to conclude his recruitment with a Notre Dame pledge.
“I would like to thank my parents for the countless hours of support and time they invested in me hoping I could reach a point like this,” Okwara said. “It’s a blessing to reach this point in my life and I can’t thank the people who helped me enough.”
Okwara boosts Notre Dame’s quest to add quality and quantity at the rush end position.
Behind senior Romeo Okwara, sophomores Andrew Trumbetti and Jhonny Williams and junior Doug Randolph are expected to compete at rush end for Notre Dame in 2015.
As a junior at Ardrey Kell, Okwara finished with 95 tackles, 10 sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
“I would like to thank my teammates,” Okwara said. “We have spent many months working out together through hot summer days, through the good and the bad times. Y’all are like my brothers, and I look forward to the support.”
Scout regional analyst Michael Clark breaks down what Notre Dame can expect out of its newest commit:
"Okwara is a huge pickup for the Irish. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed and quickness. Okwara is very disruptive coming off the edge and has a great motor. He is also a very smart football player, who does a nice job of putting himself in position to make plays.
"He must continue to get stronger and add weight, but he has a very high ceiling and could potentially develop into a big-time player at the collegiate level."
Okwara is a four-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 15 defensive end in the class of 2016.Check out Tim Pristers’s film room analysis of Okwara: