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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 19 Justin Ademilola, sophomore defensive end

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 CFP Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl Classic - Clemson v Notre Dame

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) tries to avoid a tackle by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Justin Ademilola (19) during the CFP Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic game between Clemson and Notre Dame on December 29, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-1 ¾, 250 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Ademilola has four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019, after strategically appearing in only four games last year.Depth chart: Ademilola proved himself ready for collegiate action as a freshman, yet he remains no higher than the third-string at defensive end with seniors Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes leading the way on the drop side.Recruiting: Throughout his recruitment, Ademilola was publicly-viewed as the requisite cost of chasing his twin, defensive tackle Jayson. As a consensus three-star prospect and the No. 34 defensive end in the class, per, Justin pulling in offers from Alabama, Clemson and Miami (FL) seemed to confirm that skepticism. Another way to look at it, though, is coaches viewed Ademilola as a recruit worthy of such a pursuit.

The NCAA’s easing of eligibility concerns last season may have benefited no healthy player in an Irish uniform more than it did Ademilola. He got a few dozen snaps of experience and even appeared in the Cotton Bowl, yet retained the season of eligibility.

Ademilola played in three blowouts — Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Florida State — making seven tackles. He then made two more tackles against Clemson, which while another blowout, Ademilola was in the game when it remained competitive. He provided depth and fresh legs, albeit in a lost cause.

2018: Four games; nine tackles.

Sometimes a quote’s shelf life lasts longer than a year. In this case, it might be brought back up over and over again during Ademilola’s career.

As mentioned above, Ademilola was largely viewed as the result of an unspoken package deal to reel in his more hotly-recruited brother. Notre Dame sees that perception as the spark to an advantage.

“I know Justin is going to come in with a chip on his shoulder,” Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston said on 2018’s National Signing Day. “The world has kind of made him second fiddle to his brother, which I’m all good with. I hope he does have a chip.

“I think he’ll be the surprise of the class. I think he’s going to come in and the plan is to get them both ready to play if we need them, and see what happens.”

“Ademilola will benefit from being the only defensive end recruit in the class of 2018 and one of only two remaining from the last two cycles. (Kofi) Wardlow preserved a year of eligibility last season, putting him on even footing with Ademilola, but Wardlow is such a raw prospect, Ademilola is much closer to consistent playing time already.

“As the juniors matriculate through the program, opportunities will quickly become available for Ademilola. He may have been a recruit skeptics ridiculed and he does enter without his brother’s tantalizing upside, but Ademilola could be in the rotation at defensive end as soon as 2019, making his recruitment an undeniable need in its own right.”

It is difficult to project much of an impact from Ademilola this season, but the same would have been said even more certainly a year ago. Okwara is a potential All-American. Hayes would be an unquestioned starter at nearly every other program in the country. The two of them will and should take most snaps.

But Ademilola can ably relieve them. Keeping legs fresh on the ends will be one way for Notre Dame to combat concerns along its defensive interior.

That will be Ademilola’s primary task, but given his effectiveness as a freshman in limited time (nine tackles in only those few dozen snaps), it should be presumed he will reach double-digit tackles as a sophomore, and presumably notch a few in the opposing backfield.

The flipside of toiling away behind Okwara and Hayes for two seasons is Ademilola will be essentially unchallenged at drop end in 2020. Sophomore Ovie Oghoufo will be in the mix, but he moved up from linebacker only this spring; Ademilola should be considered the clear successor at the position with freshman Isaiah Foskey his greatest challenge in years to come.

Keep in mind, it will be years, given the NCAA did not require Ademilola to use a season of eligibility despite appearing in four games last year.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 35: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker
No. 29: Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end
No. 27: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 25: Braden Lenzy, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 24: Tommy Tremble, sophomore tight end
No. 24: Jack Kiser, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, Mr. Indiana Football
No. 23: Litchfield Ajavon, four-star safety, freshman
No. 23: Kyren Williams, early-enrolled freshman running back
No. 22: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, quarterback-turned-receiver, freshman
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, the only returning starting linebacker
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, three-year starting safety
No. 20: Shaun Crawford, defensive back returning from yet another injury
No. 20: C’Bo Flemister, sophomore running back
No. 19: Jay Bramblett, freshman punter