- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
Notre Dame’s 2013 class through the spring had been highlighted by strong offensive additions, but here in early June the Fighting Irish are adding some very good defensive help as well. On the heels of the excellent in-state pick-up of linebacker Jaylon Smith, ND has just landed a verbal from fellow ESPN 150 defender Isaac Rochell. A versatile big man who is used in different ways at his school, he is a nice fit for the Fighting Irish’s 3-4 scheme. The Georgian has good size and room to add additional mass and should develop and fit well as an end in their scheme. He has a nice initial burst off the ball and is an active defender that can move well for his size. Needs to still improve pad level and hand usage, but this is a kid who demonstrates that he can use his reach and maintain a good ‘football position’. Has the tools to develop into a strong run defender who can not only make plays himself, but keep blockers occupied and allow ND’s linebackers to flow and make plays.
As a pass rusher he needs to further develop, but this is a big kid capable of constricting the pocket and creating pressure. Notre Dame has some good young D-Lineman, but can still use more talented bodies. I don’t think the addition of Rochell makes up for the tough loss of Aaron Lynch and don’t think this young man can make a similar type impact as a freshman, but Rochell is still a very good pick-up that should take some of the sting out of losing a player like Lynch. The 4-star defender could contribute as a freshman if needed in the rotation, but his best football is ahead of him and he should be able to develop into a fine defender for the Fighting Irish once he can settle in on one side of the ball and narrow his focus and efforts.