Jack Freeman / IrishIllustrated.com

Irish A-to-Z: Jonathon MacCollister

MacCollister is expected to join Jay Hayes, Andrew Trumbetti and Khalid Kareem at strongside defensive end when 2017 pre-season camp opens in August.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder from Deland, Fla., helped led Bishop Moore High School in Orlando to an 11-2 record in ’16 following a junior season in which the Hornets finished 15-1 and claimed the Florida Class 5A state championship.

As a senior, he totaled 42 tackles with seven tackles for loss and five sacks in 13 games. He also caught 21 passes for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns from the tight end position.

Position: Defensive end

National Ranking: A three-star prospect, Scout listed MacCollister as the No. 76 offensive tackle nationally while 247Sports.com slotted him as the No. 45 strongside end. ESPN.com had him as the No. 37 defensive end.

Irish Illustrated Rank: The consensus No. 18 player in the 21-man class with a high rank of 14th.

Likelihood of Freshman Red-shirt: High


On paper, it looks as if MacCollister would need some significant attrition to earn meaningful playing time this fall. Currently, he’s No. 4 on the depth chart at strongside end behind Jay Hayes, Andrew Trumbetti and Khalid Kareem.

Might be in a position to make some headway on the interior defensive line, although his size would be a limiting factor in the short term. A prime candidate to preserve a year of eligibility in ’17.


Considered a defensive end/tackle by Notre Dame during the recruiting process, MacCollister has some roadblocks, including Class of 2018 recruit Thomas Booker were he to choose Notre Dame. After the 2018 season, MacCollister could form a trio with Kareem and Booker at strongside end.

If Notre Dame’s offensive tackle issues continue, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if MacCollister transitioned to the other side of the ball where his athleticism would play well.


In 2011, Notre Dame signed three-star defensive end Tony Springmann out of Fort Wayne, Ind., a three-star prospect who brought strength and a level of physicality to the Irish with the ability to play inside.

Springmann’s career ultimately ended prematurely due to injury. But during his sophomore season in 2012, he played in all 13 games for the Irish, making 11 tackles from the nose tackle position.

That’s not to say that MacCollister will end up at nose tackle for the Irish – particularly with Notre Dame’s strong recruiting at that position – but MacCollister offers defensive line versatility and a sturdy presence up front to stop the run, a la Springmann.


“A great fit from a great home and great school. It aligned with him the moment he came on campus. He’s a versatile player. He’ll play multiple roles from defensive end to inside pass rush. He’s a serious, very driven young man, extremely intelligent…An incredible football player that plays with a great motor and energy.” -- DL coach Mike Elston

“Big bird! The bird! Mature, leader, physical, athletic…great young man. He’s a great fit because he’s going to bring leadership to the locker room. With his level of maturity, he’s already made the transition. Physically, he’s ready to play right now, and mentally, he’s very strong.” -- Autry Denson, ND’s Florida recruiter

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