Notre Dame football snagged a key commitment from one of the top defensive linemen in the state of Texas, as Nana Osafo-Mensah committed to the Irish over in-state Texas. Osafo-Mensah is the second Lone Star State native to choose Notre Dame so far in the 2019 class. Sachse, Texas native Hunter Spears, a consensus 4-star defensive tackle, picked the Irish in February.
Notre Dame’s resurgence in Texas is a positive trend, given the fact that the Irish were shut out in the Lone Star State in their 2018 signing class. The Irish are making a bigger push in Texas in the 2019 class, and the early results indicate that this strategy is paying off.
Osafo-Mensah’s commitment is a win on numerous levels for Notre Dame. He’s a top-level student-athlete who takes his academics seriously. He’s a top 125 prospect nationally at a position where Notre Dame will be facing a potential depth shortage in a couple of years. And he’s from Texas, where the Irish are increasingly focusing.
Osafo-Mensah could potentially fill a few different roles for Notre Dame in the coming years.
The 6-4, 230-pound Osafo-Mensah is listed by the 247Sports Composite as a defensive end, and is widely projected by analysts to play that position in college. But the Rivals network projects Osafo-Mensah as an outside linebacker. The Irish are currently projecting Osafo-Mensah as a pass rushing weak-side defensive end who can get after quarterbacks.
The Irish head into the 2018 season with three projected major contributors at linebacker and rover – Te’Von Coney, Drue Tranquill, and Asmar Bilal – who are all heading into their senior seasons. But Notre Dame addressed that future need by loading up at linebacker in the 2018 class with the additions of three January enrollees – Jack Lamb, Bo Bauer, and Ovie Oghoufo. The Irish also signed New Jersey consensus top 100 outside linebacker Shayne Simon, who arrives in South Bend this summer. With that in mind, it becomes more probable that Osafo-Mensah will be a defensive end with the Irish.
The Irish have five scholarship defensive ends who are all heading into their junior seasons in 2018 – Daelin Hayes, Julian Okwara, Khalid Kareem, Jamir Jones, and Adetokunbo Ogundeji. All five of those players signed with Notre Dame in the 2016 class. They, along with other younger defensive ends such as sophomore Kofi Wardlow and freshman Justin Ademilola, will hold down the depth chart the next couple seasons. But by the 2020 season, when Hayes, Okwara, Kareem, Jones, and Ogundeji will all be gone, Osafo-Mensah could be poised to assume a starting job or key backup role as a sophomore.