In the film room...Khalid Kareem
• Assets: A wrecking-ball type defensive end with a great frame to continue filling out. High intensity, high effort, high RPM-type player who spends the bulk of his time on the offense’s side of the line of scrimmage. A sledgehammer who plays a tough, physical, powerful game.
Consistent get-off. Knows how to use his hands and rip moves to defeat his man. Defeats his opponent by overwhelming with a combination of the above-mentioned assets. Makes every snap count. A never-give-up-on-a-play approach. Will chase as long as there’s a chase to give.
Plays with a level of physicality that should allow him to be a successful run stopper in addition to a hard-charging defensive end. Has the frame and approach to be a player that can slip inside in a 4-3 if necessary. In fact, he’d be an outstanding pass rusher as a three-technique who also would hold the point of attack against the run.
• Room for improvement: Not an off-the-edge rusher as much as he is a power rusher. Has a tendency to play with a high pad level at times. Can be a bit deliberate at times in the open field and when changing directions, which is more a positional limitation than a shortcoming.
• Top offers: Notre Dame. ACC: Boston College, Duke, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest. Big Ten: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin; Pac 12: Cal, Oregon, Stanford; SEC: Alabama, Vanderbilt; Other: Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Harvard, Yale.
• Early line: Kareem, along with his parents, have tried to remain open-minded after a brief commitment with Michigan State over the winter months. The Spartans remain in the competition.
“I talked to Coach (Mark) Dantonio and he said it’s all good,” Kareem told Scout. “Just take my time and make sure I’m 100 percent (certain).”
When Alabama offered a scholarship in February, the family immediately began making plans to visit Tuscaloosa, a trip they took on April 18 – the day of Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game.
The Kareems’ affiliation worked against the Spartans with former Michigan State head coach Bobby Williams a part of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide staff for the past several seasons.
“We have a real good relationship with Coach (Bobby) Williams,” said Kareem’s father, Ken Kareem, to Scout’s John Garcia, Jr. “We’ve kind of followed him since the Michigan State days. For him to offer our son is huge…(The visit) was everything we thought it would be...(Khalid) liked Alabama a whole lot. He could definitely see himself playing there.”
Prior to the trip to Alabama, Kareem made a swing through Michigan State and Michigan at the beginning of April, and then continued east where he made stops at Rutgers, Yale and Harvard. He’s also been to Louisville.
Kareem attended Notre Dame’s Junior Day on March 21.
“I really like the school and the coaches,” said Kareem to Scout’s Allen Trieu. “The tradition at Notre Dame is real and obvious from the time you get on campus. The visit definitely helped keep Notre Dame as a serious school I would be interested in attending and playing for.”
• ND’s 2016 defensive end recruiting: The Irish have a verbal commitment from pass rusher Julian Okwara (Charlotte, N.C.), the younger brother of current Irish end Romeo. Notre Dame also is pursuing Fort Wayne, Ind. product Auston Robertson, a four-star prospect the Irish would love to build their defensive end future around, along with Josh King (Darien, Ill.), another highly-touted four-star prospect with standout potential.
• ND’s 2016 defensive end depth chart: Romeo Okwara will be out the door after the 2015 season, but no other defensive end currently on the roster will be out of eligibility in 2016. In fact, Isaac Rochell will be the only current defensive end (besides Romeo Okwara) who will be down to one year in ‘16. Andrew Trumbetti, Grant Blankenship and Doug Randolph will have two years of eligibility, and Jonathan Bonner and Jhonny Williams each will have three. Any early-entry/incoming freshmen will have three or four years remaining in ’16.
• Summary: Whereas prospects such as Julian Okwara and Auston Robertson are more speed, off-the-edge defensive ends, when you think Khalid Kareem, think more in terms of Kapron Lewis-Moore/Isaac Rochell (only further along than Lewis-Moore coming out of Texas).
Kareem is a point-of-attack dictator. It will become increasingly difficult to move him off the football as he continues his physical progression. You can see on his high school film from his sophomore to his junior seasons how he’s evolving from a stand-up off-the-edge guy into more of a defensive lineman with a hand on the ground. Over time, he could become a truly dynamic three-technique, although there’s no reason he can’t be a run-stopping barrier with high-level pass rushing skills as an end.
Can the Irish get him? He profiles well to Notre Dame. Anyone who visits Notre Dame and Yale, Alabama and Harvard is a pretty unique cat. The Irish definitely are in the running. But the former Michigan State commit had his head turned by Alabama a couple of weeks ago, and the family appears to be on board. If he truly is the direction the Crimson Tide want to go, they’ll be difficult to beat. The Michigan product also could remain in-state.
Regardless where Kareem ends up, this will be a fascinating prospect to track as he matriculates to the next level because he has a combination of skills to be an impact player at a couple positions with that powerful body and non-stop motor dictating his path.