Notre Dame gets the letters: Pair of California defensive ends in Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
Los Gatos High School; Los Gatos, Calif.
Measurements: 6’4”, 215 lbs.Accolades: The consensus three-star recruit is the No. 30 defensive end in the class, per rivals.com, and No. 43 prospect in California.
Other Notable Offers: More than half the Pac 12 chased Schweitzer, but by no means was the California product only noticed by the West Coast. Virginia Tech, Michigan State and Arkansas also offered him scholarships. But of all those, it was Nebraska that Schweitzer originally committed to.
Projected Position: Schweitzer has enough coverage ability to serve as Notre Dame’s “drop’ end, mixing both pass rush duties with some coverage work so as to confuse opposing quarterbacks for just a moment.
Quick Take: Schweitzer fits a theme this recruiting cycle, of wondering if his rankings would have risen in a normal year, one with camps and a season for him. Instead, he will turn down the possibility of a preps spring season to enroll early.
Agile yet physical, Schweitzer appears to have the tools that usually warrant more than a three-star ranking, though he will need to add both weight and strength.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: A year of strength and conditioning work may serve Schweitzer better than anything, not that he will be far from defensive line coach Mike Elston’s mind, because it often seems no defensive linemen is at any point.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: If Schweitzer develops his pass rush skills a bit, he could serve as a real nuisance for opposing quarterbacks in pre-snap reads.
Pacifica High School; Oxnard, Calif.
Measurements: 6’5”, 225 lbs.Accolades: The consensus three-star recruit is the No. 40 defensive end in the class, per rivals.com, and the No. 58 recruit in California.
Other Notable Offers: Aupiu flipped his commitment to Notre Dame from UCLA just a week ago, the final piece (so far) of an Irish surge in flipping recruits from Power Five programs at the end of this cycle. Somehow that trend fits with 2020’s difficult recruiting cycle, when no visits of any kind were allowed after March 18. That led Aupiu to focus on YouTube more than anything else.
“Everything about the [Notre Dame] is televised and on YouTube, so I’ve done my own research,” Aupiu said. “I’ve done a lot of research on YouTube. The best way to get to know something is to see it. If you can’t be there in person, so I’ve seen the pep rallies, filling up the stands and stuff like that.”
Despite deciding to go to Notre Dame only a week ago, Aupiu will enroll in February.
Projected Position: Listed in some parts as a linebacker, Aupiu’s 6-foot-5 frame will move him to the defensive line, in the mold of Daelin Hayes (also a high school linebacker) and Isaiah Foskey.
Quick Take: Aupiu’s assignment-correct approach alone warrants notice, a discipline that will fit right in with Mike Elston’s ethos along the defensive line.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Elston will find a way to get any viable defensive line contributor onto the field, a significant aspect of the defense’s success the last few years. With both defensive ends matriculating after this season, he will need to find new contributors moving forward. Some are already obvious (Jordan Botelho), but there will be snaps to be had. That said, it should be acknowledged Aupiu has not played since 2019. Early enrollment will help with that rust, but that return to football speed may take some time.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Foskey looks every bit the part of a defensive end who heads to the NFL after three seasons, creating a hole for Aupiu to step in as a primary contributor as soon as 2022. He may be backing up Botelho at that point, but in Elston’s rotations, that can still mean up to 40 percent of the snaps.
SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
— On Signing Day, remember Notre Dame’s surge has hinged on three-stars
— Consensus four-star QB Tyler Buchner
— A Signing Day surprise: Four-star safety Khari Gee, flipped from LSU
— A Signing Day surprise: Consensus four-star RB Audric Estime, flipped from Michigan State
— Trio of four-star WRs in Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas
— Five-star offensive tackle Blake Fisher and four-star guard Rocco Spindler
— Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie, the day’s greatest worry
— Hawaiian LB Kahanu Kia
— Cornerbacks Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes
— Three-star cornerbacks JoJo Johnson and Chance Tucker
— Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
— Tight ends Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans— Consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio— Pair of California defensive ends, Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
— Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
— Inexperienced defensive end Jason Onye
— Kicker Joshua Bryan