What's Next: Notre Dame Must Now Focus On Elite Defensive Linemen In 2022

After adding defensive tackle Donovan Hinish to the 2022 class the Notre Dame staff can now focus on elite players to fill out the class
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Now that Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic defensive tackle Donovan Hinish is in the Notre Dame 2022 class the Irish are in a unique position along the defensive line. Hinish joins a class that already had three ends, and with that four man group now on board the Notre Dame coaches can focus on finishing off the defensive line class with elite prospects.

WHAT'S ON BOARD

Hinish was the fourth defensive lineman to commit to Notre Dame. He joins ends Tyson Ford, Aiden Gobaira and Darren Agu. Hinish lacks the length, athleticism or ceiling of the three ends, but his motor, toughness and playmaking ability complement those long edge players nicely.

The 6-6, 260-pound Ford ranks as the nation's No. 125 overall player on the 247Sports composite list and Gobaira ranks as the nation's No. 148 player by 247Sports. Agu is a consensus three-star recruit, but a case could be made he has as high of a ceiling as any player in the class, and I'm not just talking about the ends.

With this foursome now on board Notre Dame can focus on two elite prospects that could be program changing prospects.

LUCAS IS A MUST-GET

Notre Dame should now focus all of its defensive tackle attention on Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral star Anthony Lucas, who ranks as the nation's No. 27 overall player by 247Sports. I have talked often in our podcast (see below) about how important Lucas is to the Notre Dame 2022 class. Simply put, players like this don't often end up at Notre Dame, and not only does Lucas close the gap, he all but erases it.

The 6-4, 280-pound big man has a rare blend of size, length, power and athleticism.  He's also an extremely versatile prospect that can dominate as a three-technique, he can win over the ball and he's a highly effective edge player when asked to play there at the prep level. He has long arms and extremely fast hands, and his knack for winning the edge is special.

Lucas is the perfect big man for a defense that wants to be multiple, going from four to three down fronts on a consistent basis due to the aforementioned versatility. Adding Lucas to the current interior depth chart would give Notre Dame as good of a group of interior big men as any team in the country.

Lucas is currently visiting Texas A&M and he heads to Notre Dame the weekend of June 11-13. Defensive line coach Mike Elston and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman have done a great job recruiting Lucas up to this point, and now Notre Dame needs to absolutely knock it out of the park during the visit. He is also considering Alabama, Texas, USC, Oregon and UCLA.

This is a must-get situation for Notre Dame if it wants to seriously close the gap and have the kind of defensive line that can truly take over the big games.

MOSS IS SPECIAL

Despite already having three ends in the class the Notre Dame staff is still making a push for Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman edge player Cyrus Moss. Landing him could be a challenge for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact Notre Dame already has three ends in the class. The counter to that for Elston is the fact that the last time Notre Dame signed four ends (2016) he turned all four of them into draft picks.

Moss ranks as the No. 26 player in the country according to 247Sports. His combination of length and athleticism is truly elite, and that's based on sophomore film. He can play the Vyper position in the Notre Dame defense but he could also play off the ball much like we've seen from young ends Jordan Botelho and Devin Aupiu.

Moss has rare speed off the edge and he showed good power for such a young player in 2019, and as he adds more strength and his body matures he'll be even more effective. As I said with Lucas, the fact is Notre Dame hasn't signed many players like Moss, and being able to add him and Lucas to the current group of commitments would give Notre Dame its best defensive line class of the Brian Kelly era.

That's how you close the gap.

Irish Breakdown Content

Notre Dame Summer Roster
Notre Dame Football: 2021 Overview

Notre Dame 2022 Commits Big Board: Offense
Notre Dame 2022 Commits Big Board: Defense

2022 Big Board: Running Back
2022 Big Board: Slot Receivers

Notre Dame 2022 Scholarship Offers

Notre Dame 2022 Class Big Board

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