Three-star DT Ja'mion Franklin commits to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame could be in the midst of a defensive line revolution. At least that’s the way Ja’mion Franklin sees it.

The three-star defensive tackle recruit reserved his spot in the transformation Tuesday by announcing his verbal commitment to the Irish.

“It's going to get crazy,” Franklin said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “A lot of people have been saying how the D-line hasn't been as stout as it's been in previous years with Sheldon Day and Louis Nix and other guys, but I think we're going to get back to that.”

Franklin’s pledge to Notre Dame has been months in the making. The 6-foot-2, 306-pound lineman said he knew he would likely end up committing to the Irish since making a visit to South Bend in March and receiving a scholarship offer while on campus.

Notre Dame beat out the likes of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and others to receive Franklin’s commitment. As a junior at Ridgely (Md.) North Caroline, Franklin recorded 63 tackles, six sacks and five forced fumbles.

“He’s a fantastic ball player,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s quick off the ball and makes good use of his hands. He’s just what Notre Dame needs for the defensive line.”

Rivals ranks Franklin as the No. 36 defensive tackle in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him 40th at the position.

“Franklin is one of the more underrated defensive linemen in the country,” Lemming said. “He can play. He’s strong. He’s tough. He has a shot to be in the NFL in four years.”

Franklin’s commitment stands as another example of the reinvigorated recruiting effort the Irish have shown since the offseason shuffling of head coach Brian Kelly’s staff. Despite coming off a 4-8 season, the Irish coaches have been able to illustrate a bright future at Notre Dame. As a result, the Irish have put together a 12-man recruiting class ranked No. 6 in the country by 247Sports and No. 7 by Rivals.

Specifically for Franklin, the picture was painted by Kelly, defensive coordinator Mike Elko, defensive line coach Mike Elston and linebackers coach Clark Lea. Franklin named those coaches as the No. 1 reason he committed to the Irish.

“Coach Kelly's a great guy,” Franklin said. “I've been building relationships with coach Elko, coach Elston and coach Lea. I have faith in coach Elko and what he's doing there. This season is going to be a testament to how good of a D-coordinator he is."

The newly configured Notre Dame defense hasn’t face an opponent yet, but Franklin’s already convinced of future success.

“I watched it at the spring game,” Franklin said. “It looked incredible. It was really impressive in just a short amount of time how much improvement the defense has made.”

Franklin joins four-star defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and three-star defensive end Justin Ademilola on Notre Dame’s defensive line in the 2018 class. The trio marks the start of an impressive haul for the Irish with more targets on the line — particularly at defensive end — remaining a priority.

Notre Dame signed five defensive linemen in the 2017 class: defensive tackles Darnell Ewell and Kurt Hinish, defensive ends Kofi Wardlow and Jonathon MacCollister and swing player Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.

One of Notre Dame’s top defensive end targets in the 2018 class, Thomas Booker, actually played with Franklin when they were sophomores at Gilman School in Baltimore. Booker visited Notre Dame in March and has indicated plans to make a return trip later this month.

“That's my guy,” Franklin said. “If I get him on board, that's a wrap."

With Notre Dame’s recruiting resurgence in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) area, it’s hard to rule the Irish out for the four-star recruit. In the past six months, the Irish have added commits from three recruits in the region – Franklin, Wardlow and incoming freshman rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Notre Dame needed two years to collect the previous three commitments from the DMV: Ewell in July 2016, safety Jalen Elliott in June 2015 and cornerback Ashton White in July 2014.

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

God. Country. Notre Dame excited to be apart of something special #GoIrish#TicToc#IrishBouND18pic.twitter.com/ZhDLdFG0dC

— #55GoLive (@Jamion_Franklin) June 6, 2017

AND ANOTHER ONE!! pic.twitter.com/H684wkK2Vh

— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) June 6, 2017

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) June 6, 2017

Welcome to the family @Jamion_Franklinpic.twitter.com/zXuJeD96b0

— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) June 6, 2017

BOOM!!! #IrishBound18 just got a lot stronger!!!

— Coach Mike Elko (@CoachMikeElko) June 6, 2017

Congratulations to my boy!! The Fighting Irish are getting a dog! @Jamion_Franklin ☘️ pic.twitter.com/DTvJTM5Vbz

— TB7 (@TheThomasBooker) June 6, 2017

Just got bigger - just got better!!☘️ #IrishBound18

— Clark Lea (@Coach_Lea) June 6, 2017

#IrishBouND18 ☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️

— Jaz Johnson (@JazJohnsoND) June 6, 2017

Defensive tackle recruit Ja'mion Franklin, right, will make his commitment announcement on June 6. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)