Josh Newkirk - Scout

Irish impress four-star D-Tackle

Extracting top talent from Ohio has been a challenge for Notre Dame, but four-star defensive tackle Jowon Briggs sees the Irish as a strong fit, even with the Buckeyes nearby.

Notre Dame moved early on '19 defensive tackle Jowon Briggs. So did just about everybody else. Still, the Irish have positioned themselves as a legitimate player with this four-star junior who already has national options.

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound athlete from Cincinnati already holds offers from Alabama, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers.

Briggs visited Notre Dame on April 2. He saw Michigan and Michigan State in March. Ohio State got a look January. The Irish did enough to stand out, even if it was mostly in an architectural way.

"As far as what I took from it was my walk from classes to dorms and dorms to the football complex and the football complex to the facilities, that's what I'll be walking and it was all just awesome," Briggs said. "As far as the facilities, it was just really good. The whole aesthetic of the campus isn't something that you'll find anywhere else."

Notre Dame might also get a boost from its area recruiter in Ohio doubling as Briggs' potential position coach in South Bend.

"As far as the coaching staff goes, coach (Mike) Elston, he just fits really good," Briggs said. "He reminds me of my coach right now, which is really interesting."

As Briggs navigates through his bustling recruitment, a few more visits are on the agenda.

"Throughout summer, I'm going to go down to Alabama and probably Wisconsin sometime," Briggs said. "With Wisconsin, we don't have anything set in stone. And (Cincinnati) too."

During the spring evaluation period several top programs have been by Walnut Hill High School.

"Ohio State was just there, then Notre Dame was there twice I think," Briggs said. "Then Michigan and that's pretty much it recently. I feel like Notre Dame is pushing the hardest. I feel like that."

That close contact has put Notre Dame in a good position with Briggs, who put academics at the top of his priority list.

"They sit high," Briggs said. "They're really attractive to me right now because of academics and different things they offer. I know that sounds old, me saying it, but that's really just it. And their football team, of course. The main thing for me is academics."

A return visit to South Bend is on his agenda for the fall.

"I'll probably make it down there for a game. I want to see how the players are in a game situation. I want to see how they act when they switch it on, their intensity, that type of situation where they are actually playing, not just in practice."

Aside from visits to SEC country to get a closer look at Alabama, as well as possible stops at Wisconsin and Cincinnati, Briggs will be working on sharpening his football tools.

"To be honest, me being at 285 (pounds) right now, I'm not as quick as I was before," he said. "Sometimes I feel not as quick, I feel a little sluggish. I think I'll drop a few pounds, work on speed and work on my hands too because you can never have too sharp hands. You know how that goes."

Briggs is having plenty of fun with his recruitment, and so is his father, who has an interesting football background.

"He played JUCO at Triton up in Michigan and then he went down to (Cincinnati), just to go there," Briggs said. "Then, after that, he played semi-pro, up until two years ago and he's 43. It was fun. We used to drive to his games, help him put his stuff on, things like that.

"He's as excited as I am about the whole thing. He's very proud. I always enjoyed making my dad proud, but this is just one way of making him proud, in football. It's something I enjoy doing too."

Watching his father play semi-pro ball got Briggs into football after a school transfer.

"When I was younger, I came to Walnut Hills because it was a good academic school but they had a football team," Briggs said. "The school I was going to was for Performing Arts. They didn't have a football team because they were focused on Fine Arts. I was moving schools and decided to play football there.

"So, when it came to being a freshman, I thought, 'these guys are going to school for free from playing football.' I figured, 'I'm pretty good at it. Let's see what I can do.'"

After originally trying out for the varsity out of curiosity, Briggs found a love for the game. He's since become one of the top defensive tackle prospects in his class.

"That whole summer from eighth to ninth grade, I worked hard. I started playing and thought, 'OK, I think I might have a natural affinity to playing (defensive tackle). Ninth-grade summer, that's when I really started working and we went to Miami of Ohio and that's when I got my first offer. It's growing on me."

As well as finding his place on the football field, Briggs is heavily involved high school theatre. He looks forward to possibly studying performing arts at the college level.

"I was one of the leads in a play we did at our school called 'Ragtime,'" Briggs said. "I hope to study Computer Science as well as Music Theory and Theatre." Top Stories