Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 94 Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A freshman, Foskey has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: Whichever end of the line Foskey ends up at, he will be no higher than the fourth-string.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect, Foskey stretched his public decision out until February’s National Signing Day, wanting to take part in a ceremony with the rest of his high school teammates, but he had reportedly actually signed with Notre Dame in December, picking the Irish over Washington and Cal. Rivals.com rated the All-American the No. 15 weakside defensive end in the class.
Notre Dame waited for only Foskey in February, making it so Irish head coach Brian Kelly could focus his school-released comments on the one new public signee.
“We were looking for a pass rusher,” Kelly said. “Certainly any time that you finish up your recruiting, you want to finish with somebody we think can make an impact. Isaiah comes from a great program. It’s a great fit, strong student, but more important, I think we needed that guy that can make a presence in our defense.”
Defensive coordinator Clark Lea echoed those fit thoughts while also adding a suggestion of how quickly Foskey may find the field.
“Isaiah’s a long and athletic edge player that we’re really excited about,” Lea said. “We think he will come in and have an impact immediately. He has a chance to be a great pass rusher.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN FOSKEY’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“Foskey has the agility and ball skills to handle the duties of Notre Dame’s drop/weakside defensive end, but also the physicality and ability to shed blocks wanted from a rush/strongside end. That malleability will not only help Foskey’s chances to get on the field, but will also aid the Irish roster’s adaptability.
“... Notre Dame is stocked at defensive end for 2019 thanks to the returns of rising seniors Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara, not to mention classmates Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji. Foskey’s freshman season may parallel Justin Ademilola’s, who appeared in just four games to preserve a year of eligibility, but provided viable snaps and depth when he did play.”
Foskey’s listed measurements from high school do not convey a small individual, and that 6-foot-5 frame already carries a good amount of muscle. Call it a hunch, but when the media gets its first looks at Foskey this preseason, the reviews will include some version of, “He looks like a college senior.” Does that guarantee playing time? Of course not, but it is never a bad thing.
Okwara and Hayes will own the spotlight on the weak edge this year, and Ademilola no longer needs to be restrained to only four games. The Irish have not been this well set at defensive end in decades. There have been seasons during Kelly’s tenure in which Foskey would have been in the two-deep upon arrival and possibly starting after the October idle week.. Now, he is simply fortunate the NCAA allows for four games of appearances before losing a year of eligibility.
Then again, while Kelly has softened on his long-held belief that talented defensive linemen would not stay for a fifth season even if it is available, it remains a core tenet of his. Notre Dame may not see it as necessary to preserve a year for Foskey. If he can contribute, genuinely so, then adding another level of defensive line rotation would only help the Irish defense in November.
Consider Foskey a ripe test case for that traditional strategy of Kelly’s in this new era of eligibility rules.
DOWN THE ROAD
After Ademilola’s showing as a freshman — “revelation” feels too strong, but it was considered — the one-two punch of Ademilola and Foskey in years to come holds promise for Notre Dame, not to mention sophomore converted-linebacker Ovie Oghoufo taking snaps, as well. They will not immediately rise to the levels of Okwara and Hayes, but in the long run, the Irish have the talent at hand to keep the defensive line performing at the high level of the last two seasons, which is a hard concept to fathom for long-time observers.
WHY NO. 94?
This section originally discussed an entry regarding No. 28 -- ‘With Nicco Fertitta’s departure, the digits are available, and they are what Foskey wore in high school.” -- but Lou Somogyi of Blue & Gold Illustrated reported over the weekend that Foskey will wear No. 94.
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
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