Notre Dame has had a great deal of success producing effective edge players in recent seasons and the 2022 and 2023 defensive end classes are already strong. There are still talented players on the board, one of which is Frisco (Texas) Memorial athlete Kennedy McDowell.
If you are someone who likes linemen that can run, then McDowell is your man. The 6-4 defensive end competed in the 110-meter hurdles this spring, posting a best of 14.63, which is a highly impressive time for a sophomore, especially one that plays the defensive line.
“Obviously he can run,” Frisco Memorial head coach Derick Roberson. “He can bend the corner, get low and maintain speed off the edge. His knowledge of the game (stands out) and he really understands how to use his hands… He’s really advanced (technique-wise) for his age.”
While the slender edge prospect translates best to the weak side, Roberson foresees a much different look once McDowell gets to college.
“Once he’s done running track he should be able to put on 30-40 pounds and maintain his burst and speed," explained Roberson. "So, he can play strongside at some point. He could be a stand-up (rush end) or a guy you drop in coverage. He’s just a really good athlete.”
McDowell played his sophomore season at around 200 pounds, and that is the biggest negative of his game so far. However, as Roberson stated, McDowell is running track in the offseason so it will be hard for him to keep his weight up. The lean prospect could also benefit from added upper body strength, according to his coach.
It takes more than being a good football player for Notre Dame to actively recruit someone, and McDowell is just as focused off the field. Roberson also confirmed with Irish Breakdown that McDowell is on track to enroll early at the school he chooses.
“[Kennedy] is a phenomenal young man," said the Frisco Memorial coach. "He’s really concerned with his academics. He just really focuses on what is going on in the classroom.”
According to Roberson, Kennedy is a high-character kid who wants to be tested academically, so from that standpoint, he’s a perfect fit for Notre Dame off the field. But what would he bring to the Irish on the field?
“The one thing he’s going to bring is athleticism to that defensive front," Roberson noted. "He’s got speed. I’ve been coaching football for 25 years and you can’t coach speed, and he’s only going to get faster. He’s also relentless and determined to get to the quarterback. I think he’s a great fit for Notre Dame. I don’t think he would be a great fit for a team like Alabama, because their defensive ends are like defensive tackles.”
Although McDowell is an unranked prospect, his ceiling is undeniably high. With everything Roberson told Irish Breakdown, McDowell is a talented player with plenty of potential.
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