Ohio State DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste transfers to Notre Dame
Having lost two veteran defensive ends this winter to the NFL, Notre Dame needed to find both depth and experience for its defensive front. The Friday transfer announcement from former Ohio State defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste should give the Irish some of both.
The Buckeyes annually have one of the deepest defensive lines in the country, and Jean-Baptiste struggled to crack its starting lineup, though he still played parts of four different seasons in Columbus. He finished the 2022 season with 19 tackles with 4.5 for loss including four sacks, part of 53 tackles in his career with 10.5 for loss including eight sacks.
At 6-foot-5 and about 250 pounds, Jean-Baptiste may seem too lean to be Notre Dame’s “Big” end, but that should be his initial destination in South Bend, presumably opposite rising senior Jordan Botelho at Vyper.
The Irish need new starters at both positions to replace Justin Ademilola and Isaiah Foskey, respectively. Rising senior Rylie Mills worked some as a “Big” end, but he may be wanted back on the interior to supplement the suddenly shallow position there, as well. Thus, Jean-Baptiste’s edge-rushing skills should fit well opposite Botelho’s natural aggression.
Recruited as a four-star linebacker, Jean-Baptiste moved to the defensive line early in his Buckeyes’ career. He spent the middle three of his five seasons in Columbus working in front of current Notre Dame defensive line coach Al Washington, then Ohio State’s linebackers coach.
Beyond Botelho, Jean-Baptiste and Mills, the Irish have only a few defensive linemen with any notable experience. At Vyper, it could be argued there is no one else, only a collection of rising sophomores, some of which have made position changes to provide depth there.
Defensive tackle: Howard Cross and Gabriel Rubio have both seen playing time.“Big” end: Nana Osafo-Mensah flashed plenty in 2022 to inspire confidence as a leading contributor in 2023, perhaps even beating out Jean-Baptiste for the starting gig. Longtime German project Alexander Ehrensberger should be ready to produce, too.
TRANSFERRED OUT TO DATE
QB Drew Pyne (Arizona State)DL Osi EkwonuTE Cane Berrong
TRANSFERRED IN TO DATE
QB Sam Hartman (Wake Forest)WR Kaleb Smith (Virginia Tech)S Thomas Harper (Oklahoma State)K Spencer Shrader (South Florida)DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Ohio State)
HEADING TO THE NFL WITH REMAINING ELIGIBILITY
TE Michael MayerOL Jarrett PattersonDE Isaiah FoskeyDE Justin AdemilolaS Brandon Joseph
RETIRED WITH REMAINING ELIGIBILITY
WR Braden Lenzy
LS Michael VinsonWR Matt SalernoS DJ Brown