On Monday, the Notre Dame program added another talented player to the 2024 recruiting class, getting a commitment from Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School defensive lineman Owen Wafle. From every layer, Wafle presents a tremendous fit for the Irish program.
Wafle’s current head coach, Todd Smith, gave some insight into just what the Notre Dame fans and faithful should expect from Wafle as a young man - and football player. Impressive is a word that comes to mind quickly.
“As a football player, he is really an anomaly,” Smith explained. “Owen has a ridiculous first step, twitch and plays with such violence. He is a really tough matchup against any offensive lineman who is going against.”
All those things are physical abilities, which obviously matter. But it isn't fully what makes Wafle special. It’s what he does when others aren’t looking that separates the 2024 standout.
“He brings a special work ethic,” Smith continued. “He’s one of those kids you have to pull back sometimes with how hard he works.
“Notre Dame is truly getting an elite athlete with an elite work ethic,” continued the Hun School head coach “Even in track season, Owen is doing all of the drills the skinny guys do. He’s doing hurdle drills for flexibility. He’s doing footwork drills. All he knows how to do is work.”
Playing a variety of roles for the Raider program, Wafle projects primarily as an inside player for the Irish. Continuing to grow into his body, Wafle brings an intriguing skill set to the next level.
“Owen is on the shorter side, just below 6-3, but he has some freakishly long arms,” Smith noted. “That allows him to do so much and play any position on the defensive line.”
As for his fit, Smith believes that Wafle could fit just about anywhere on the defensive front.
“It really depends on how big he is going to get,” Smith explained. “He’s only a sophomore but is already 275 pounds. If there is such a thing as a 'good 275 pounds', it’s Owen.”
Of course to be an ideal fit for the Notre Dame program, academics are a huge layer to consider. The Hun School specializes in preparing student athletes to excel on the next level. It seems to be doing just that for Wafle in particular.
“Students come to the Hun School to get a great education and be prepared to find a great college or university,” Smith stated. “He’s going to be able to carry that over to the next level.”
Overall, Smith is a huge fan of Wafle’s fit with the Notre Dame program. It seems to fit like a glove.
“I think it’s a match made in heaven,” he said. “Owen is an extremely loyal kid. He went into the process with both eyes open and asked great questions. I don’t think he got as overwhelmed by the process as some do. He was very respectful to the coaches. Owen is a great kid when it comes to relationships. There were a few schools who he developed a good relationship with but Notre Dame was just different.”
I also checked in with Tony Racioppi, an assistant coach for The Hun School. Racioppi is also a private quarterback coach who has tutored several NFL quarterbacks, including 2022 first round pick Kenny Pickett. He also sang Wafle's praises.
“I think it’s the perfect place for him,” Racioppi said. “We have had 71 scholarship kids in eight years and not many, if any, have his explosion and aggressiveness as a player.”
The offer list for Wafle was beginning to fill up quickly. He chose the Irish over offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Boston College, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Syracuse among others.
As just a sophomore, Wafle earned a massive role for The Hun School, a program who has consistently churned out next level talent at a high rate. Playing between defensive end and defensive tackle, Wafle recorded 47 total tackles and five tackles for loss in nine games.
Offensively, he has also spent some time at both fullback and tight end. Used more for his blocking prowess, Wafle recorded two receptions for 34 yards and another 20 yards rushing on four total carries.
Wafle is a near consensus four-star recruit across every major recruiting platform. He currently sits as the No. 175 overall player and No. 14 edge in the 2024 class according to the 247Sports composite ranking.
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