What outside offers mean for Notre Dame commits Ademilola, Stepp

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Jayson Ademilola remembers what if felt like to receive his first scholarship offer to play college football.

On the same January day of his freshman year, Rutgers, Miami and Boston College all extended offers. More than two years later, the four-star defensive tackle has his college plans lined up with a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.

Still, a new scholarship remains a special event for Ademilola.

“When you get to high school and you get the opportunity to get an offer to any school in general, it feels good,” Ademilola said. “But when you get an offer from a school like Notre Dame or a school like Alabama — you’ve been growing up watching these teams — it’s like, ‘Wow. They offered me.’”

On Wednesday, Alabama became the latest school to offer Ademilola and his twin brother, Justin, a defensive end also committed to Notre Dame.

“They’re always on top every year,” Ademilola said of Alabama. “It’s a good program. Getting an offer from Alabama and Nick Saban is cool. One of my old teammates is having great success out there – (defensive back) Minkah Fitzpatrick. Knowing they want you and you have an offer from them is pretty good.”

Most schools, like Notre Dame, offer both of the Ademilola twins. Jayson Ademilola, at 6-foot-3, 288 pounds, brings a presence on the interior of the defensive line at Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep. Justin Ademilola, 6-2, 243 pounds, offers a pass rush threat on the edge.

Ohio State bucked the trend last month when the Buckeyes only offered Jayson Ademilola.

“That never really happens. That was only like Ohio State that did that,” he said. “It’s just based off need. It doesn’t really affect us. Justin doesn’t really care about all that stuff. It didn’t really mean much to him.”

But some offers mean more than others. That’s usually why a recruit committed somewhere will still tweet about a new offer.

Irish running back commit Markese Stepp shared news of a scholarship offer from USC on Monday. That’s because Stepp has known USC running backs coach Deland McCullough, in his first year with the Trojans after six seasons at Indiana, for a long time.

“The offer means a lot, because I’ve been knowing D-Mac since I’ve been like 10 years old,” Stepp said. “He and my dad played together in college (at Miami of Ohio). So the relationship is there. I was excited. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.”

But before Stepp commented on the offer, he wanted to make one thing clear.

“I’m still 100 percent committed to Notre Dame,” Stepp said. “I don’t want anybody thinking I’m not.”

New offers from other schools always have the potential to become a headache for Notre Dame’s coaching staff, but it’s also a compliment to the job the Irish have done in identifying talented players early and building a 12-man class. If Alabama and USC want a shot at Notre Dame’s commits, the Irish are probably doing something right.

Notre Dame lost commitments from six different players in the 2017 recruiting class, but it’s way too early to predict the Irish will lose any of their current pledges. The cause for concern usually comes if those recruits plan visits to other schools.

At this point, Stepp and Jayson Ademilola aren’t ready to do that.

“I don’t know if I’ll visit (USC),” Stepp said. “We’ll see. I don’t see it in the future right now. I don’t think anything is going to change with my status at Notre Dame.”

“Schools try calling me and talking to me or when they come in during the evaluation period, they want to talk,” Jayson Ademilola said. “You just listen to what they have to say, but you always remember why you committed.”

Hoop it up

Notre Dame quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec fell five points short of a state title in basketball.

On Saturday, Pine-Richland lost to Reading 64-60 in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 6A championship. Jurkovec scored a team-high 14 points in the loss.

Pine-Richland finished the season 28-2. The Jurkovec entered the championship game averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame commits Justin Ademilola, left, and Jayson Ademilola combined for 6.5 sacks on Friday night against Bergen Catholic. (Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media/John Munson)