‘It was just the right decision’

Ovie Oghoufo thought Friday might be the day. In the last month, Notre Dame had been trending up with the four-star junior linebacker from Farmington Hills, Mich., as he watched the Class of 2018 build. Returning to campus with his parents helped nudge him to join that list of commitments.

Ovie Oghoufo could feel the momentum start to build from a distance.

In the last month, Notre Dame has been stockpiling verbal commitments. Three of the 11 since mid-June had come in the Class of 2018 — four-star running back Markese Stepp, four-star defensive end Jayson Ademilola and his brother, three-star linebacker Justin Ademilola.

Stepp has been a particularly active recruiter. So, as the class started to build, Oghoufo couldn’t help but listen.

“Markese was always on my head about it,” Oghoufo said. “He’s a wonderful player too. He just made me think about the class we could have and the class they already have with these five commits. It’s special.”

Oghoufo now counts himself as part of that mix.

Notre Dame offered the four-star linebacker from Farmington Hills, Mich., about a month ago during an unofficial visit. Oghoufo returned to campus Friday with his parents, mostly to tour them around the program to which he’d already been leaning.

Oghoufo gave a verbal commitment before the day ended.

“It was pretty much everything from academics to athletics to history and tradition,” he said. “It just felt right. It’s definitely a program that I wanna be a part of and the coaches made it even better. The players too that I met with. It was just the right decision.”

Notre Dame now holds five commitments in the Class of 2018, four of which are ranked in the Scout300. Oghoufo checks in at No. 238 overall. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec (46) leads the way while Stepp (193) and Jayson Ademilola (211) fall in line next.

Oghoufo joins Justin Ademilola as a linebacker pledge. Linebackers coach Mike Elston has helped outline how Oghoufo could be utilized.

“They see me fitting in as an outside backer,” Oghoufo said. “They like the way I can play all three downs and my coverage ability. They like my length and speed and my hustle to get to the ball.”

Oghoufo also leaned on the coaching staff for a window into life at Notre Dame as a football player.

Elston helped fill in the gaps, as did defensive line coach and area recruiter Keith Gilmore. Current players pitched in as well. Oghoufo attends the same high school, Harrison, that produced freshman Irish defensive end Khalid Kareem.

All in all, Oghoufo felt like the coaching staff was forthcoming. That helped cinch his commitment.

“They were honest with me,” Oghoufo said. “They were 100 with me. They didn’t tell me things that I wanted to hear. They told me things that were true. That helped me make the decision. Not a lot of people can go to Notre Dame, as they said. You’ve gotta really feel it. It’s gotta be the place in your heart. I agree with that. It’s not a party-type school. I agree with that. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s true.’”


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