Measurables: 6'3", 215
Accolades: U.S. Army All-American, All-USA Indiana linebacker, consensus 4-star prospect, All-State 3A, Defensive Player of the Year by Times of Northwest Indiana.
Impressive Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State
Quick Take: Barajas was a terrific addition to the Irish recruiting class, battled away from Penn State after a surprising commitment to James Franklin’s staff early. Barajas was always a highly touted recruit, but only after he took part in the All-Star festivities in San Antonio did he truly get some looks among the national elite.
Barajas is too light right now to be a in-the-box linebacker, but he could be the prototype for what Brian VanGorder is looking for at the Sam linebacker spot. He’s a top-shelf athlete that’ll do his best to fight his way onto the field as a freshman, especially if he’s a quick study in the defense.
What he means to the Irish: Defending the home turf is crucial and landing Barajas is a big part of that. It also brings an elite defensive player into a depth chart that’s still evolving at linebacker. He’ll likely be a large part of the team’s DNA once Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt are gone.
Looking for an interesting test case? Let’s see how much weight Barajas gains during his first year in the program. I’ll set the over/under at 25 pounds.
Obligatory YouTube Video: Here’s Barajas laying the wood at linebacker for his Andrean squad as a senior: