Javontae Jean-Baptiste, a transfer edge defender from Ohio State, has committed to the Notre Dame football program for the 2023 season. Jean-Baptiste will likely earn a prominent role for the Irish next season after a process primarily kept under wraps until he committed.
I’ve seen a lot of Notre Dame football fans on message boards and social media calling JJB a depth addition for the Irish. But, truthfully, I don’t think that’s anywhere near how this will play out. While he has never earned an actual starting position for the Buckeyes, Javontae was excellent on the field. According to PFF, he was the second-highest-graded edge defender for the Buckeyes, ahead of young standouts J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer.
He had one more sack than Sawyer in almost 80 fewer defensive snaps and would’ve put up similar numbers to Tuimoloau with equal reps. There have been motor concerns throughout his career, but JJB is undoubtedly good enough to earn a starting role for the Irish and contribute significantly.
In his career, Jean-Baptiste has 51 tackles, adding eight sacks and a forced fumble. He has only started a handful of games throughout his career but should be immediately thrust into the spotlight in South Bend.
For comparison, Notre Dame football star Isaiah Foskey had 12 sacks in 563 defensive snaps, while JBB had 4. According to Pro Football Focus, Javontae scored a 79.7 overall, whereas Foskey earned a 71.8 defensive grade on the season. I’ve never been one to put too much stock into PFF grades, but it’s certainly notable.
While I don’t know if he’ll be as successful as Foskey as a full-time starter for the Fighting Irish, I think he can be a difference-maker. At this point, the team needs all the help they can get along the defensive line, and I believe Javontae will provide a significant boost. His 6’5” and 250-pound frame will add a much-needed size alongside Rylie Mills.
It’s great to see the Irish land a quality defensive lineman through the portal; we’ll see if they have any more additions coming. The first cycle of the transfer portal closes soon, so any more news should arrive in short order. Go, Irish!