Notre Dame Football: How can Irish draft prospects improve their stock?

Ian Book(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Ian Book(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Linebacker position
Notre Dame Linebacker position(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Linebacker – Senior

Welcome to the modern age of football. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s size and freakish athletic ability are the prototype for the new versatile in the box player. In Notre Dame’s defense, this position is commonly known as the “Rover.” However, all over college football (and now the NFL), teams are starting to feature similar players. They are a “trump card” to ever evolving offenses; allowing defensive coordinators around the country to match whatever personnel the opposition chooses.

Owusu-Koramoah is Notre Dame’s most intriguing 2021 draft prospect. Despite two years of eligibility remaining, “JOK” is drawing interest from some of the top draft gurus. ESPN’s Todd McShay first mentioned him in early March, tweeting, “Trying to study four Notre Dame draft prospect for this years class but LB 6 Owusu-Koramoah keeps distracting me! This dude is all over the field on three tapes studied so far.”

McShay and his colleague, NFL Draft veteran Mel Kiper, continue to conduct the Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah hype train. McShay recently listed him as the 17th overall prospect in next year’s draft. Kiper also believes strongly in the Senior Linebacker from Hampton, Virginia. He slots Owusu-Koramoah as the 2nd best Outside Linebacker in the country.

Owusu-Koramoah tied for leading tackler on the team with 80 total stops. More importantly, he collected a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss. That total ranks as the most since Sheldon Day in 2015.

Owusu-Koramoah draws comparisons to former Clemson and current Arizona Cardinals Linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Both players are asked to do a tremendous amount on the field: rush, cover, set the edge, scrape and tackle.

The biggest difference between Owusu-Koramoah and Simmons is size and length of production. Simmons is a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier. Owusu-Koramoah will probably add a few pounds before his Senior season but is not likely to hit another growth spurt. Ultimately, a few inches does not matter a whole lot in actual game situations. However, when NFL front office officials over analyze every detail of a prospect, it is the difference of being selected in the Top 10 or the back end of the first round.

What can Owusu-Koramoah do to improve: With all the hype surrounding “JOK”, what else can he possibly do to improve? Simmons’ Junior statistics compare favorably to Owusu-Koramoah’s Junior statistics. The Notre Dame “Rover” will need to continue to flash the dominant play shown in the Camping World Bowl where he destroyed the Cyclones with 9 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 fumble forced and 1 fumble recovery. Obviously, this is an unrepeatable pace. However, if there are several similar stat lines in his 2020 season, Owusu-Koramoah will etch his name as another Notre Dame player selected in the first round.

Projection: 1st Round

High-Low Range: 1st Round to 3rd Round