Irish visit under the radar rush end

Jayson Oweh would impress most college programs based on his height and weight alone. But there’s more to this New Jersey pass rusher who’s played in just eight high school games yet boasts nearly two dozen offers and Irish interest.

Meet one of the nation’s fastest rising defensive end prospects.

Notre Dame already has.

And while the Irish aren’t the first program to discover 6-foot-5, 236-pound athlete Jayson Oweh from Blairstown, N.J., they are one of the biggest names to chase the junior after his debut season of 42 tackles, five tackles for loss and seven sacks last fall at Blair Academy. The Irish were at the school on Monday, marking Notre Dame’s third week on the road during the spring evaluation period.

Last month Oweh picked up offers from Georgia, Maryland, Navy, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. That group joined Boston College, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Wisconsin on the offer list.

Blair Academy head coach Jim Saylor doesn’t expect that momentum to stop anytime soon.

“The Notre Dame coaches (contacted) him (last week),” Saylor said. “He’s pretty excited about getting the call. Right now, he’s got 23 Division 1 offers. It’s pretty overwhelming for a kid who’s played eight high school football games in his career but this kid has such upside and so much potential, it’s amazing. He ran to my office when he got the call, so he does have some interest.”

Oweh’s performance at The Opening Regional in New Jersey included a 4.63 40-yard dash. The high-ceiling junior certainly raised some eyebrows at the April 30 event.

“He tore it up at that Opening combine,” Saylor said. “Most kids train specifically for those combines. He didn’t even know what a three-cone drill was or any of those types of things. He went in there and he got the third-highest ranking at that combine and I think he’s ranked No. 38 nationally.”

Oweh’s lack of experience ultimately may be more positive than negative in recruiting.

“This kid, his body frame, he’s a legit 6-6 and he’s 240-pounds and I’d say he’s going to be 265-270 (pounds) after his first year in (a college) program,” Saylor said. “With his speed and his upside, his best football is yet to be played. He’s a quick learner and the good thing about him not playing the game of football until this year, he has no bad habits.”

Harvard has reached out along with several other academic powers. The weight of a Notre Dame degree could serve the Irish well with this three-star prospect.

“It’s all about academics with him,” Saylor said. “Notre Dame has a great academic history and with their background, he’s definitely interested in them. This kid’s going to be an NFL player some day, whether it be at defensive end or tight end. He’s an amazing athlete and an amazing young man.”

Notre Dame visited Oweh on Monday, but defensive line coach Mike Elston laid the groundwork with this New Jersey athlete last week over the phone. The Irish are also expected to be back at the school later this month with defensive coordinator Mike Elko.

“He said he loved my tape, they both watched it, how athletic I was,” Oweh said. “He said I was raw but my upside is huge. He said I was doing a lot of things that people who have been playing for a while, haven’t been doing or showing little glimpses.

“He loved that I’m very versatile, that I can play offense and defense, that he wouldn’t even know what to recruit me as, tight end or (defensive) end.”

Committing to football could prove to be life-changing for Oweh.

“I was mainly a basketball guy,” he said. “My old school didn’t even have football. When I decided to transfer, interest in me wasn’t that high for basketball. I was getting little (offers) like Colgate, Lafayette, stuff like that. I wanted to expand my horizon and see what I could do, so I decided to try football. I really liked it and things are going pretty well.”

An offer from Notre Dame would shake up Oweh’s recruitment.

“It would mean a lot,” Oweh said. “I know they have an independent schedule, that they just play anyone and that gives their players a lot of ability to showcase to different medias and different crowds. It’s big-time.”

Oweh is eyeing a visit to South Bend.

“I don’t know if I’m going to camp or I’m just going to visit yet because it’s still pretty early,” Oweh said. “I’ll probably just visit.”

Oweh said he plans to take his recruitment through the season to use official visits.

While an Irish offer would make a statement, there are some other programs standing out too.

“It’s pretty new but Penn State is pretty high,” Oweh said. “Wisconsin, Harvard, Georgia Tech are pretty high. Top Stories