Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Freshman; four years of eligibility remaining
Depth chart: Owusu-Koramoah’s late recruitment was largely a symptom of new Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko identifying him as a potential rover for the coming years. This season, senior captain Drue Tranquill will likely take most of the snaps at rover with junior Asmar Bilal filling in against more physical, run-based opponents. Owusu-Koramoah would theoretically be the next option, especially after junior linebacker Josh Barajas’ transfer to FCS-level Illinois State.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect, Owusu-Koramoah originally committed to Virginia before shifting to a decision between Notre Dame and Michigan State. The No. 40 linebacker in the class, per rivals.com, and No. 18 recruit in Virginia, he chose the Irish the afternoon of National Signing Day, quite literally calling coach Brian Kelly to inform him of such while Kelly was meeting with the media.
The National Signing Day call was certainly pre-arranged to some extent, but Kelly’s relief in announcing Owusu-Koramoah’s commitment was still palpable, especially considering he could play at safety if needed, and Notre Dame was troublesomely light in defensive back recruits in the 2017 haul. Owusu-Koramoah’s late inclusion doubled the total in the Irish class.
“Another one of those guys that really fit what we were looking for, especially in coach Elko’s defense,” Kelly said. “That safety position that can come down close to the line of scrimmage, plays physical.
“We hosted [Owusu-Koramoah] with [now-senior linebacker] Nyles Morgan. When you host somebody, you want them to see Notre Dame and see the social aspects. These guys didn’t leave the film room. I mean it, it was like they were joined at the hip for six hours just talking football. That’s the kind of kid he is. He loves football. He’s going to be a great addition to the Notre Dame football family.”
WHAT WE SAID WHEN OWUSU-KORAMOAH’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“Owusu-Koramoah not only picked Notre Dame over Michigan State, but also de-committed from Virginia to focus on the two Midwestern schools. He fills what had been a huge hole in this recruiting class. Prior to his commitment, only Jordan Genmark-Heath represented the defensive backfield in the class of 2017. Really, another would have been preferable — perhaps a cornerback to complement the two safeties — but bringing in two this cycle is acceptable, rather than an intimidating shortcoming.
“Owusu-Koramoah may project as a ‘rover,’ a crucial piece in new defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s scheme.”
Tranquill will lead the Irish defense this year from the rover position. The discussion of playing Bilal against teams such as Georgia, Michigan State and Stanford is valid in theory, but don’t be surprised to see Tranquill still taking the majority of the snaps in those games.
Owusu-Koramoah will not be in the conversation, barring injury. But as a freshman learning the keystone duties in Elko’s defense, a season’s delay is both understandable and productive in its own right.
He could, however, be involved in special teams. Coordinator Brian Polian would be thrilled to have a physical athlete with good speed to send after kick and punt returners. This may seem a small role to use up a season of eligibility, but the Irish special team units have needed to improve the last few seasons. Using what tools you have to do such is an easy choice to make.
DOWN THE ROAD
If Owusu-Koramoah takes to the rover position in the long-term, Elko’s first Notre Dame recruiting cycle—only a few weeks of one, at that—will have been a grand success. Owusu-Koramoah was brought in specifically to serve as the linebacker/safety hybrid Elko relies on. Even with Tranquill holding those duties through the 2018 season, Owusu-Koramoah will have his chance once he has a grip on the scheme as a whole.
Aside from the five early enrollees, the numbers are not yet confirmed for the Irish freshmen class. That is one of the admitted drawbacks to organizing this summer-long series numerically. But thanks to social media and the technologies of 2017, those numbers have slowly come to be known.
By those mediums, it appears Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will wear No. 30.
2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)