Master List: Defense

With National Signing Day ready to roll, Irish Illustrated updates the Master List one more time on defense.

Defensive Line

Darnell Ewell
6-4, 295
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elko Committed on July 15
Ewell finished off interior defensive line recruiting in a big way, giving the Irish a rare pledge out of the Tidewater area of Virginia. He could play on either side of the ball but will take his bullish talents to defense in South Bend.
Kurt Hinish
6-3, 285
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Committed on March 21
Hinish turned in another productive season for Central Catholic, leading it to a Pennsylvania state title game. His recruitment has been finished for months, with Hinish returning for a January official visit.
Jonathon MacCollister
6-4, 255
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denson Committed on June 17
MacCollister started the Irish Invasion recruiting run by committing before the event. All has been well on that front since. MacCollister returned to campus for Echoes weekend.
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa
6-4, 270
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Polian Top Offers: Georgia Tech, Oregon, USC
UPDATE: Tagovailoa-Amosa is scheduled to decide today and the race boils down to Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. Signs seem to be pointing toward South Bend. USC, Georgia Tech, Navy, Washington and Oregon were among the other offers considered.
Kofi Wardlow
6-3, 223
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elko Top Offers: Maryland, Michigan State, Pitt
UPDATE: Information on Wardlow has been all over the place, leaving open the possibility he’s telling different people different things. That’s recruiting during the run up to signing day. Confidence has been building that Notre Dame can produce a late flip from Maryland.
Notes: Could this be the position that receives a late boost? Darnell Ewell, Kurt Hinish and Jonathon MacCollister have been committed for months. Notre Dame struggled to gain traction with other targets heading into the offseason. Enter defensive coordinator Mike Elko to shake the trees and drum up new possibilities. Jalen Harris, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kofi Wardlow all visited down the stretch. Harris announced Tuesday night that he’ll stick with his Arizona commitment, leaving Tagovailoa-Amosa and Wardlow standing. It’s a very, very real possibility the Irish close with both. Tagovailoa-Amosa is the most likely as Notre Dame sat well with the family during their visit. Vanderbilt is the main competition and, frankly, it’s difficult to imagine the Irish not winning that one. Wardlow is a bigger wild card. There’s been conflicting information during the run up to signing day about whether Maryland will hold on or Notre Dame will pull off a late flip. There’s no doubt the Irish have made it interesting. There’s a feeling they could make it happen. Adding both would be a boon, making a five-man haul on the defensive line that includes power in spades and potential edge rushing prowess in Wardlow after some time to develop. What happens at this position will probably be the biggest National Signing Day storyline for Notre Dame.


David Adams
6-2, 225
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Committed on March 20
Adams returned to campus a couple weeks before signing day for one last look at campus before putting pen to paper. Teammates with Kurt Hinish at the prep level, Adams has been steady in his commitment since the spring. He’s a future middle linebacker.
Drew White
6-1, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denson Committed on March 21
Like Adams and Hinish, White had to wait for his official visit after playing deep into the postseason. He’s now ready to sign after being committed for months, never showing any signs of second thoughts along the way.
Notes: Bringing on Mike Elko as defensive coordinator shifted the sands at linebacker recruiting. Ellis Brooks and Antjuan Simmons both popped back onto the radar after the regular season ended. But Elko appears satisfied with a pair of linebackers in David Adams and Drew White, particularly since his scheme mostly uses a pair of backers and a “rover.” Apparently neither Simmons nor Brooks fit that mold. Adams capped his high school career by playing for a state championship, winning 6A Defensive Player of the Year in Pennsylvania then participating in the Under Armour All-America Game. Turns out Adams did so through injury. He played the entire season with a torn UCL, a testament to his toughness. Adams will now spend the offseason rehabbing in preparation for summer enrollment. White won a Florida Class 7A state title with St. Thomas Aquinas to wrap up his high school career. Both prospects have met with Brian Kelly during the contact periods, returned to campus for official visits and put their recruitments to bed well before signing day.


Russ Yeast
5-11, 183
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Alabama, Louisville, Oklahoma
UPDATE: Yeast has been in stealth mode since visiting Notre Dame as he weighs it against Louisville. Consensus seems to be gathering that Yeast will stick with the Cardinals, yet there’s been no clarification. It’ll take an official signature or announcement to make that happen.
Notes: Good news: Notre Dame has a nice young stable of cornerbacks already in the program with Donte Vaughn, Julian Love and Troy Pride showing some flashes last season. Bad news: They might not get any reinforcements in this class. De-commitments from Paulson Adebo (Stanford) and Elijah Hicks (Cal) left the Irish without a pledge at the position. Several new scholarship offers went out over the last month but the options essentially boiled down to Tre Norwood and Russ Yeast. Norwood surprised many by announcing an Oklahoma commitment just days after visiting South Bend. That leaves Yeast, a Louisville commitment since October. He’s been very, very quiet while mulling those options. Frankly, it’s unclear where things stand heading into today. But Yeast is the best hope at a splashy flip and signing a needed cornerback in one fell swoop.


Jordan Genmark-Heath
6-2, 205
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elko

Committed on Jan. 26

UPDATE: After staying relatively quiet following his official visit, Genmark Heath emerged late last week by announcing via Twitter his commitment. Genmark Heath brings some range and physicality as a safety. He could also grow into the “rover” spot.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
6-2. 188
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elko Top Offers: Virginia, Michigan State
UPDATE: It’s Notre Dame or Michigan State for Owusu-Koramoah with an announcement scheduled for National Signing Day. Optimism has been running high in terms of Irish chances over the last week. It might be closer than people think, but it looks like the trend is up.
Isaiah Robertson
6-3, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Lyght Committed on April 15 
There’s never been anything to worry about with Robertson after his spring commitment. Less so now since the four-star athlete is enrolled. He’s rooming with running back C.J. Holmes for the spring semester.
Notes: First let’s get to the biggest news: Mike Elko and Todd Lyght bolstered this position by adding Jordan Genmark Heath to the commitment list last week. Genmark Heath might be destined for the “rover” spot in Elko’s defense eventually. He brings range and a big hitter’s mentality. Pairing him with Isaiah Robertson, who’s already enrolled, makes for a solid haul given the circumstances. After Evan Fields chose Arizona State, it’s down to what happens with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah later today. Owusu-Koramoah de-committed from Virginia and narrowed his choices to Michigan State and Notre Dame shortly thereafter. Visits to both programs this month set the stage for his final decision. There’s optimism on both sides, yet a consensus coming together that Notre Dame could very well win the day. We’ll see soon enough.

Updated: 2/1/17 Top Stories