Matt Cashore / Irish Illustrated

Irish A-to-Z: Pete Mokwuah

The senior nose tackle could aid Notre Dame’s defensive efforts with a handful of consistent snaps each week.

  • Class: Senior
  • On the depth chart: No. 3 nose tackle behind Jerry Tillery and Daniel Cage
  • Post-spring status: Unchanged

One of two signing week additions to the 2014 recruiting class, Mokwuah and last-minute nose tackle pledge Daniel Cage have since seen their careers diverge. Cage played a key role from the outset as a true freshman while Mokwuah has yet to carve a niche as the pair head into their senior seasons.

MOKWUAH AT HIS BEST

The lone tackle of Mokwuah’s Irish career proved timely – a Stuff after a two-yard gain by Miami standout sophomore Mark Walton to open the fourth quarter of Notre Dame’s 30-27 victory over the visiting Hurricanes last October.

Mokwuah’s tackle occurred on 1st-and-10 from the Irish 24-yard line. The defense held thereafter and limited the driving Hurricanes to a field goal in a contest that wasn’t decided until the final minute.

QUOTABLE

“He’s improved, I think he just needs to get in better condition. He’s learned how to play the point of attack better. His focus, he has to be more into the game as he comes to practice every day.” – Former DL coach Keith Gilmore on Mokwuah during Spring Ball 2016

BEST CASE SCENARIO

Five snaps of gap control, each week.

Notre Dame won’t ask more of Mokwuah until he shows he can provide the minimum, and if both Jerry Tillery and Daniel Cage play up to their potential, the minimum from Mokwuah will suffice.

It would also allow promising true freshman Darnell Ewell to assimilate to the college game, though it’s unlikely the four-star prospect and Notre Dame’s top defensive recruit will be afforded the luxury of a redshirt rookie season.

Someone has to give defensive line coach Mike Elston a handful of snaps in relief of his big two – it’s the senior’s last chance to prove he deserves playing time in a competitive situation.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

To date.

That might seem flippant, but heading into his senior season, Mokwuah has just once aided the Irish on the playing field, posting the aforementioned tackle near scrimmage against Miami. He then appeared in just one contest over the final four games last fall.

If Mokwuah can’t help, it’ll be up to a true freshman to perform a task the senior was hired for back in 2014. 

CAREER COMPARISON

Unfortunately they’re plentiful, and at an increased frequency of late –interior defensive line prospects that fail to develop during their stays in South Bend. A handful still populates the current roster.

Mokwuah has appeared in six games and registered one tackle entering his senior season. Those modest numbers match Tyler Stockton (2009-2013) entering his senior year of 2012. Though he did not appear in a contest, Stockton went on to be named Scout Team Player of the Year as a senior, then returned as a locker room leader for his fifth year in South Bend.

He appeared in 11 games as a graduate, registering three stops including one for no gain against Brigham Young late in the contest of a 23-13 Irish Senior Day win.


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