Notre Dame surpassed expectations for four-star DE Joshua Paschal

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Sometimes father knows best.

When Joshua Paschal’s father suggested they should make a visit to Notre Dame, the four-star defensive end recruit figured it would be much like the countless other trips he’s made to college campuses.

But after the trek from Maryland for a two-day stay in South Bend last month, Paschal has Notre Dame quickly rising up his list of top schools.

“We were just going to take a trip up there,” Paschal said. “My dad actually wanted to check it out because one of my uncles is a really big Notre Dame fan. When I went up there, I knew it was a great program. I knew I might like it a little bit, but it turned out I liked it a lot.”

Now Paschal is working to find time to make a return trip to Notre Dame for an official visit. It might have to wait until after the football season, but the Irish have surged as a major contender in his recruitment.

At The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore., last week, Paschal recapped his Notre Dame visit before alluding to a top list of schools he was preparing to release. The 6-foot-3, 253-pound defensive end shared that list Tuesday night on Twitter. It included Maryland, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Clemson, Tennessee, USC and North Carolina.

Before he released the list, Paschal told reporters that Notre Dame, Maryland and Oklahoma were definitely going to make the cut.

“They got my attention with their recruiting,” Paschal said of the three schools. “They’re always talking to me, telling me about where I’m going to play at and how I’m going to play.”

Paschal visited Notre Dame with a pair of teammates from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel, the same program that produced junior center Sam Mustipher. It didn’t take Paschal long to notice the similarities between Notre Dame and Good Counsel, which is also a Catholic school.

Paschal spoke with Mustipher while on campus. The Irish offensive lineman sang the praises of defensive line coach Keith Gilmore. Paschal can understand why.

“The defensive line coach is a very good coach,” Paschal said. “He’s a really good guy. I really like him a lot.”

In Notre Dame’s endless pursuit of talented defensive end recruits, Paschal seems to fit the blueprint. He’s strong and athletic with a penchant for chasing quarterbacks.

247Sports slates Paschal as the No. 9 strongside defensive end in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him 10th at the position. 

Only one defensive lineman at The Opening Finals posted a better Nike Football Rating score, which evaluates athletes based on testing results including the 40-yard dash and vertical jump. Paschal ran the 40 in 4.75 seconds and jumped 37.6 inches.

The opportunity to be a versatile defensive player has been a part of Notre Dame’s recruiting pitch to Paschal.

“They said they’ll put me at defensive end, but sometimes with their defensive ends they can move them around a lot,” Paschal said. “They can play on the line and also play outside linebacker and come off the edge.”

If Paschal ends up signing with Notre Dame in February, it will have all started with a suggestion from his dad.

Below are highlights of Paschal's junior season via Hudl.

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

A June visit to Notre Dame surpassed expectations for four-star defensive end Joshua Paschal. (Photo courtesy of Nike)