InsideNDSports - 2023 Rivals100 LB Jaiden Ausberry commits to Notre Dame
{{ timeAgo('2022-08-04 18:32:05 -0500') }} football Edit

2023 Rivals100 LB Jaiden Ausberry commits to Notre Dame

2023 four-star linebacker Jaiden Ausberry is Al Golden's first commit since joining Notre Dame.
2023 four-star linebacker Jaiden Ausberry is Al Golden's first commit since joining Notre Dame. (Rivals.com)

A day before Marcus Freeman begins his first preseason camp as Irish head coach, he finished his first offseason doing what he does best: winning defensive recruiting battles. And this time, he did it in former head coach Brian Kelly's new backyard.

On Thursday, Rivals100 linebacker Jaiden Ausberry announced his Notre Dame commitment. The Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab School product chose the Irish over finalists Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Michigan and Texas A&M. Ausberry is Notre Dame's 21st commit in the class and 16th since Freeman took over the helm.

Following Ausberry's commitment, the Irish increased their lead over Alabama for the No. 1 spot in the 2023 Rivals team rankings to 200 points. Notre Dame has 2,779 total points in the class. It also marks defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Al Golden's first recruiting victory since joining the Irish.

Ranked by Rivals as the No. 80 overall player, No. 4 outside linebacker and No. 7 player in Louisiana, Ausberry chose the Irish despite immediate family connections elsewhere.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound rising senior is the son of Verge Ausberry, a former LSU linebacker who now works in the school’s athletics department. Jaiden’s older brother, Austin Ausberry, is a freshman cornerback at Auburn. The elder Ausberry son held a Notre Dame offer.

But Jaiden chose his own path.

While Freeman led the charge for Jaiden Ausberry, the four-star linebacker chose Notre Dame because of a full-fledged effort by the Irish coaching staff. Before his hiring at ND, Al Washington recruited Ausberry as the Ohio State’s linebackers coach. Defensive coordinator Al Golden also made a strong impression on Ausberry since joining the Irish in February.

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"Coach Freeman recruited me last year when he was (defensive coordinator), so we have that good relationship," Ausberry said at the Under Armour Future 50 camp. "Coach Washington recruited me at Ohio State, so I know a lot of people up there. Last year, they were two of the biggest linebacker recruiters, so now that they're together, it's cool to see."

Ausberry reported his Notre Dame offer from Freeman after visiting in June 2021. The Louisiana linebacker did not return to South Bend until the spring, while he also made trips to Oregon, Auburn and LSU. Following an official visit tour of ND, Auburn, Michigan and Texas A&M, the Irish began to build momentum.

Until July 19, when Ausberry scheduled his commitment announcement, he remained adamant that he wanted to wait until December before choosing a school. But Notre Dame expedited his timeline in adding him to the future defense. Ausberry joined fellow Rivals250 linebackers Drayk Bowen and Preston Zinter in Notre Dame's class.

With Ausberry, Bowen and Zinter in the class, the Irish have a chance to sign three Rivals250 linebackers for the second consecutive recruiting cycle. Last year, Freeman received commitments from Rivals250 linebackers Joshua Burnham, Niuafe Tuihalamaka and Jaylen Sneed. It was the first time ND added at least three four-star linebackers in a class since 2018.

At Notre Dame, Ausberry can even play multiple defensive positions.

“He’s a playmaker,” Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “He’s in on every play. He has great instincts and compliments Notre Dame’s linebacker class. He’s athletic enough to play rover. He is a big-time ball player. With his size and athleticism, Notre Dame can put him anywhere.”

Despite missing the start of his junior season due to a broken thumb, Ausberry registered 94 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, three caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and four pass breakups. Eight schools offered since the season’s end, resulting in 28 total scholarship offers before his Irish commitment.

As a sophomore, Ausberry had 80 tackles, two tackles for loss, 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups in 10 games. He also made a significant impact as a freshman, notching a career-high 95 tackles to go along with four tackles for loss, two sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Come December, Ausberry can become the fifth recruit the Irish have signed from Louisiana since 2015. However, he would be just the second four-star recruit to do so after Jerry Tillery in 2015. The last player the Irish inked from the Bayou was three-star running back Logan Diggs in 2021.

After Ausberry’s commitment, Notre Dame’s 2023 defensive class is nearly complete on paper, barring it being able to hold onto defensive end Keon Keeley and safety Peyton Bowen. Both commits visited opposing schools during the July quiet period.

In addition, Notre Dame is pursuing three-star athlete Ben Minich as a safety prospect and may seek a fifth defensive lineman after offering Blake Purchase and Caleb Herring toward the end of last month. The Irish also remain in contention for five-star defensive athlete Samuel M’Pemba.

The Irish are hopeful that Ausberry is the first of three additions to the 2023 class this week. Notre Dame will learn the decision of Minich and three-star running back Dylan Edwards on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Inside ND Sports has predicted both to select the Irish.

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