2024 four-star DE Owen Wafle commits to Notre Dame
Notre Dame has a head start on four-star defensive line talent in the 2024 class.
On Monday, defensive end Owen Wafle from Princeton (N.J.) Hun School announced his commitment to Notre Dame. The No. 12 strongside defensive end’s pledge is the second commitment of the 2024 class; defensive end Brandon Davis-Swain committed to ND last month. With Wafle's commitment, the Irish moved up to No. 5 in the 2024 class team rankings
He chose Notre Dame over finalists Iowa, Michigan State, Rutgers and Vanderbilt.
"I chose Notre Dame because of the history, student body and overall, the connections I made with the coaches," Wafle told Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman. "It was just how they treated me when I went there for my second time. They really treated me like family.
"I was able to sit in a couple of meetings and talk to a bunch of the coaches. They all seemed really positive and I liked the energy they brought. They connected with me."
Wafle was offered by defensive line coach Al Washington on Notre Dame's “Pot of Gold '' day that coincided with St. Patrick's Day. Nine days later, he made his second campus visit. Washington left a strong mark on the Rivals250 defensive end.
"On the phone, I liked coach Washington. Just listening to him talk about football and what he thinks of me was cool,” Wafle previously told Inside ND Sports. “Then, meeting him in person was a whole different experience. He is just one of those guys you want to listen to when he's talking, because he's so knowledgeable about football, defensive line and all of that.
"He wants the best for all of his players, and he has a great mind for the game. I enjoyed listening to what he had to say."
Since joining Notre Dame's staff in January, Washington has made a lasting impression on at least three other D-line recruits. Over the last month, Washington landed a pair of commits in the 2023 class and ND's first in 2024.
Davis-Swain cited his relationship with Washington as the reason for his commitment after the Blue-Gold Game. Washington also added four-star defensive linemen Boubacar Traore and Devan Houstan in the 2023 class.
During Wafle’s March visit, Washington compared his own playing style as former college defensive lineman to the high school sophomore.
"He talks about how I have natural aggression and instinct to be overly aggressive,” Wafle said. “He kept saying that it reminds him of himself a little bit. I thought that was cool.
"He played at a high level at Boston College; they're a huge school. Him comparing himself to me, I thought, was an honor because he played at such a high level. I had a newfound respect for him after I met him in person."
Wafle’s commitment comes after a standout 2021 season that included 47 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and four quarterback hurries in nine games. Notre Dame sees the 6-foot-3, 270-pound New Jersey product as a versatile defensive lineman that can play anywhere from 5-technique end to 1-technique tackle.
"He is an aggressive defensive lineman," Friedman said. "I like how he uses his hands. He has a strong base. There is a lot for the Notre Dame coaching staff to work with there. It's an excellent get for them here early in the process for the 2024 class.
"I expect him to be a lot more vocal when it comes to recruiting, just like this 2023 class. Try to bring some other impressive defensive lineman with him."
Notre Dame made its presence known in New Jersey over the previous five recruiting cycles. Pending Wafle's signature, the Irish will have added 11 players from the state since 2018. Among them are defensive linemen Howard Cross III and twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola.
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