Notre Dame football recruiting: Tea leaves point to top DL prospect commit

Notre Dame football is making waves in recruiting, targeting top 2026 defensive lineman Elijah Golden from IMG Academy. Can they secure his commitment?
Julie Vennitti Botos / Canton Repository

The Notre Dame football has been on quite the recruiting roll over the last few weeks. While it looks like that roll is especially going to ramp up before the summer is over. Recruiting analysts have Marcus Freeman and company winning over not one, but two linebacker prospects.

According to at least one recruiting analyst, the Fighting Irish are also considered to be the team to beat for a top-ranked 2026 defensive lineman. The question now is whether he’ll be a Noah Grubbs type and pull the trigger quite early, or let things play out quite a bit longer. 

Notre Dame football is in the spotlight for top DL prospect

Earlier this week, 247Sports analyst Tom Loy put in a new Crystal Ball. He decided that the Notre Dame football team is going to land Elijah Golden. If and when they do that, it will mean they’ve gotten a very good jump on the 2026 class.

Golden, the 6-foot-4, 260 pound defensive lineman is one of the most sought after defenders in his class. And it’s not just because he hails from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

As of now, Golden is the 18th best player in the entire class of 2026 as well as the second-best defensive lineman in the class and the 3rd best player in the state of Florida for that year. He’d be a massive pickup for the Irish who could be starting off their next class with the same excitement as they’ve got for the 2025 group.

While the Golden Domers are now in the lead, it’s going to be a long fight.

“This was one where he made it clear early that Notre Dame was his leader. He loves everything about the program, the school, head coach Marcus Freeman, and defensive line coach Al Washington,” Loy said. “I feel great about this pick. I feel very comfortable with it. I think they are the leader.”

Loy did note that if there is one school Notre Dame football has to worry about, it would be Ohio State. The fight between the Irish and the Buckeyes is one that has erupted for several big prospects. It appears that will continue with Elijah Golden.