• Assets: A frame from God. Long, athletic and light on his feet. A quality knee and waist bender despite extreme length. Plays with a wide, athletic base. Has some wiggle coming off the edge, which, combined with his length, makes for a very difficult target for pass blockers.
Has a solid understanding of how to use hands as assets in pass rush and shedding blocks. Gives quality effort on vast majority of snaps. Will stay with play as long as play is still alive. In addition to pass-rush assets, has nice long-range projection as run-stopper with ability to defend wide swaths of land. Covers ground in five-yard increments.
Tremendous long-term potential. Still adapting to his body, which is not a negative because he uses his greatest asset – his length – to his advantage. Off-the-chart potential. NFL-level physical assets.
• Room for improvement: Still learning how to dictate the game to opposition as opposed to the opposition dictating to him. Still learning how to maximize assets. Needs to work on consistent burst. Sometimes a count behind on the snap. Will have to prove on next level that he’s strong enough to handle physicality between the hash marks.
• Schools of Interest: Notre Dame. ACC: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest; Big Ten: Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State; Big 12: Baylor; SEC: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina; Pac 12: Arizona, Oregon, USC
• Early line: Last week, Kaindoh narrowed his choices down to Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, although Maryland could still be in the running. Kaindoh is from Essex, Md., and transferred to IMG Academy last year.
“Despite not securing a spot in Joshua Kaindoh’s top four, I remain hesitant to officially count out Maryland after speaking with a source,” said Corey Bender, Scout.com’s Florida analyst, late last week.
And yet Kaindoh’s recent visit to Notre Dame for the Blue-Gold Game (April 16) could have precipitated a significant shift.
“As of right now, I have to be feeling pretty good if I’m rooting for the Fighting Irish,” Bender said.
• ND’s 2017 defensive end recruiting: Since losing verbal commitment Robert Beal (Norcross, Ga.), the Irish have expanded their defensive end net, a net that will grow larger throughout May as the coaches hammer the recruiting trail.
At the top of the list of candidates beyond Kaindoh is Chase Young (DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md.), who has a lengthy list of favorites (15) that includes the best of the best.
Corey Malone-Hatcher (St. Joseph, Mich.), like Young a four-star, offers the best opportunity for Notre Dame geographically. He attended Notre Dame’s Junior Day in March. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin give Malone-Hatcher’s recruitment a very Midwestern/Big Ten feel.
“It is definitely, in my mind, a Michigan-Notre Dame battle,” said Allen Trieu, Scout.com’s Midwest Regional Manager. “I also think at this point, Michigan has the upper hand. It would be a huge surprise to me if he chose anyone but Michigan. But if any school were to be able to come in and pull the upset, it would be Notre Dame.”
Other defensive end prospects for the Irish include Ryan Johnson (Mobile, Ala.), Zachary Carter (Tampa, Fla.), Noah Curtis (Delray Beach, Fla.), and Jackson Perkins (Barrington, Ill.).
Despite living in the heart of SEC/Alabama country, the four-star Johnson is expected to make summer visits to Notre Dame and USC. Clemson, Florida, Auburn, LSU and Miami have a decided edge over Notre Dame for the four-star Carter.
The Irish have yet to offer Curtis, a three-star, who comes from the same high school as former Irish running back Greg Bryant. Perkins is expected to participate in June’s Irish Invasion where the three-star could pick up an offer from Notre Dame.
• ND’s 2016 defensive end depth chart: The Irish emerged from the spring well-positioned at defensive end, although the search for true pass rushers continues. Senior Isaac Rochell, junior Jonathan Bonner and freshman Khalid Kareem give the Irish a well-spaced pecking order that works for the present and the future at big end.
At rush end, juniors Andrew Trumbetti and Jay Hayes will battle it out for playing time with the former considered the best pass rusher while Hayes provides bulk against the run. Promising freshman Daelin Hayes, if healthy from shoulder issues, has the most talent. Incoming freshmen Julian Okwara and Adetokunbo Ogundeji are long-term projects with some natural pass-rushing skills.
• Summary: Perhaps the scariest part of 6-foot-6, 228-pound Joshua Kaindoh is that he’s far from a finished product. He needs to get a lot stronger and add a couple of layers of muscle. He needs to play with a consistent sense of urgency off the snap of the football. He has a long way to travel to fully maximize his potential, due largely to the fact he has so much potential.
The physical tools are sent down from on high. You simply don’t see defensive ends with this combination of length and athleticism very often. As he continues to grow into his body and add strength, he will be the silhouette the NFL uses in its logos.
But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Where will he end up before they start talking about Kaindoh in the NFL draft? Notre Dame certainly has a fighting chance after his recent visit with IMG Academy head coach Kevin Wright. Kaindoh and Wright were in town a couple weekends ago as Wright served as a guest speaker for the Notre Dame Coaches Clinic.
Kaindoh entered Notre Dame Stadium for the team’s Blue-Gold Game walk-through speaking with former IMG Academy teammate and current early-entry freshman Spencer Perry. Needless to say, Kaindoh passed the eye test.
The Irish have put themselves smack dab in the running for Kaindoh, who also includes Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan among his top contenders.
Early in the process, Kaindoh spoke glowingly about Penn State. This is the kind of athlete that often ends up at Ohio State, especially with Urban Meyer pulling the strings. With Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, anything is possible.
The prevailing opinion that remains out there, however, is that Maryland, from which Kaindoh hails, will give first-year head coach D.J. Durkin the crown jewel around which to build.
Wherever Kaindoh lands, he’s a prospect who has the sheer physical ability to make an early impact, and then over time, perform at a level well beyond his current status.
He is appropriately listed as a four-star player heading into his senior season. But there’s undoubtedly a five-star prospect in that frame if he can fully tap into his potential.
The fact Kaindoh has aspirations to be a doctor says something about his priorities and motivation. Over the next four years, we’ll find out just how motivated he is to be at the top of his field on the gridiron. His ceiling is way, way up there.