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Grading The 2019 Class: Defense

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Notre Dame entered the early signing period with 21 committed prospects, and by the early afternoon on the first day of that period the Irish had 21 signed football players.

Although the Fighting Irish are still looking to add to the current class, picking up 21 players is enough to start grading the class and discussing how well the Irish have met their needs in the class.

DEFENSIVE END

SIGNED: Howard Cross III, NaNa Osafo-Mensah

Notre Dame has just two defensive ends on the roster from the 2017 and 2018 classes, and standouts Julian Okwara, Daelin Hayes and Khalid Kareem will be off the roster no later than the end of the 2019 season. Needless to say, defensive end was a huge need for Notre Dame for the 2019 class.

The Fighting Irish are in a good position right now, having landed a pair of four-star ends in the class, but a third is required for the needs to have been met from a both a talent and numbers standpoint.

Line coach Mike Elston identified Osafo-Mensah as a top target very early in the process, and his ability to go down into Texas to land a top target that was also a priority for Texas and Texas A&M was brilliant. Adding Osafo-Mensah gives Notre Dame a powerful defender that can play the drop position — which is where he was recruited — but after some time in the strength program his best position might actually be the strongside spot current manned by Kareem.

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