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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle

Jamie Newman, Jayson Ademilola

Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman (12) looks to pass as Notre Dame’s Jayson Ademilola (57) defends in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3, 285 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Ademilola has three seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: Ademilola backs up junior Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa at three-technique tackle, a piece of depth more necessary than at any other position, one in which the phrasing “backs up” hardly portrays a precise picture.Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect, the U.S. Army All-American chose Notre Dame rather than Michigan or Alabama or Georgia or Ohio State or … Such a long offer sheet comes natural to the No. 13 defensive tackle in the country, per

Ademilola went from luxury to necessity when Tagovailoa-Amosa broke his foot in the season opener, knocking him out of commission until the Cotton Bowl. Suddenly Ademilola was not a third-string freshman, but rather a vital backup, experienced or otherwise.

Ademilola subsequently played in 12 games, only missing the Stanford game when Jerry Tillery tore through the Cardinal offensive line like it was day-old bread. Ademilola finished his debut season with 19 tackles with 1.5 for loss, including half a sack against Clemson.

The spring’s discussion of defensive tackle depth concerns will continue into the preseason and probably September. Those wonderings do not tie to Ademilola — but rather to junior Ja’Mion Franklin’s quad and early-enrolled freshman Hunter Spears’ ACL(s) — but Ademilola’s durability will play a role in solving them.

“He continues to mature and develop physically, as well,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in mid-March. “He’s 285 pounds, he’s close. We’d like to see him probably at that 290-range, so he’s in striking distance right now.”

“Tillery will be gone after this season, and no matter how 2018 goes, it should be only a matter of time before Ademilola moves past (Micah) Dew-Treadway for good. For the following two seasons, Ademilola and Tagovailoa-Amosa should provide Notre Dame with an excellent rotation in the defensive middle. Arguably the most important position on a modern era football field, fresh legs at defensive tackle create a genuine chance for game-changing impacts.

“The Irish, however, have struggled to develop defensive linemen consistently, only producing one first- or second-round draft pick in the last half-dozen NFL drafts (Stephon Tuitt, 2014). For Ademilola to become the type of player his recruitment suggests he could, that will need to change in a big way very soon.”

Do not be shocked if Ademilola moves past Tagovailoa-Amosa by the end of the season. That is not a prediction, rather an acknowledgement of a genuine possibility. Ademilola has the penetrating abilities wanted from the three-technique, and will provide more of a Tillery-like impact than Tagovailoa-Amosa would.

If that does not occur wholesale, then Ademilola will still have plenty of time to provide an impact. A backup defensive tackle, particularly a competent one, takes a solid quarter of the snaps. Given Notre Dame’s lack of further depth, at least to start the season, that share could rise closer to a full half.

Look for Ademilola in passing-specific situations, in particular. Those nickel and dime moments last year were when Tillery was flanked by three defensive ends, providing viable pass-rush threats across the defensive line. That is more an Ademilola-task than a Tagovailoa-Amosa one, and could yield some stat-boosting takedowns for him.

Tagovailoa-Amosa’s injury did not set back the Irish last year. (They still, you know, made the College Football Playoff.) Moving forward, it could prove beneficial. He and Ademilola may form an intimidating duo on the inside for as long as both are at Notre Dame.

Typically, that “as long” may not be as long as the Irish coaching staff would prefer, but given Tillery’s decision to return a year ago and now senior defensive ends Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara both making that choice, as well, perhaps it is time to reconsider how quickly top-tier defensive linemen jump to the NFL.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
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