Notre Dame has picked up a commitment from Mansfield (Texas) Legacy four-star defensive end David Abiara.
Abiara had previously narrowed down his offer list to a top seven that included the Fighting Irish, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Getting the 6-4, 240-pound edge rusher in the class and beating out those schools was a coup for defensive line coach Mike Elston.
Notre Dame signed just one end in the 2018 recruiting class (Justin Ademilola), but following that class’s first season, the staff moved linebacker Ovie Oghoufo to the Vyper (drop) end position, which added a second talented edge rusher to the class.
Notre Dame signed two more ends in the 2019 class (Isaiah Foskey, NaNa Osafo-Mensah) and two more in the 2020 class (Jordan Botelho, Alexander Ehrensberger). The strong recruiting from Elston in recent seasons has put Notre Dame in position where it can focus on impact talent over recruiting to meet specific numbers needs.
Bringing in two ends is the ideal target range for Notre Dame, and landing anything beyond that is a luxury and more about finding an impact player that is just too good to pass up than having a need. What Notre Dame needs in this class is high-end talent.
That makes landing Abiara important for the Irish. Abiara is a raw young player with a lot of tools, which is what Elston seems to prefer. We’ve seen him develop a number of raw but talented young players into difference makers at Notre Dame, and Abiara brings that kind of projection to the class.
With Abiara now in the fold, Elston can focus on finding another high-ceiling talent to add to the 2021 class. Don’t be surprised if Warwick (R.I.) Bishop Hendricken defensive end Jason Onye becomes the next high priority for Elston in hopes of making him the next end in the class.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Elston has recruited a number of defensive linemen that bring positional flexibility to the depth chart, which is a wise way to construct a roster. Abiara is no different in that while being recruited to play the Vyper (drop) spot, he has the traits to play and thrive at both end positions.
Notre Dame likes long linemen, and Abiara is certainly that, checking in at 6-4 with very long arms. He has a thick, powerful frame that could allow him to easily get above 260 pounds, and he has the power and ability to take on (and beat) blockers that project quite well to the strong side position.
Athletically, Abiara has the traits that project well to the Vyper spot. His overall pass rushing repertoire needs work, but he shows a strong burst off the edge, he bends extremely well and shows a natural feel for using his hands and pad level to win around the corner. Abiara is also extremely quick shooting gaps against the run, and despite his height he is adept at winning the leverage battle against the run.
On film there are also clips of Abiara dropping into coverage, so he will show up at Notre Dame with experience with that part of the game. He won’t be as natural in coverage as Daelin Hayes, but his lateral quickness, footwork and range mirror what we saw from Julian Okwara and Jamir Jones in coverage.
When you break down the ends Elston has signed in recent seasons its obvious he likes players that not only possess top-notch length, but he also likes players who show a knack for using their hands effectively. Abiara has extremely fast and powerful hands, and he already does an excellent job shooting his hands at the snap to keep blockers off his body. Once Elston refines his technique his ability to play the run could be special.