Notre Dame commit recap: DE NaNa Osafo-Mensah silences doubters en route to district title

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Two 2019 commits, offensive lineman Quinn Carroll and linebacker Osita Ekwonu, saw their high school careers end over the weekend. ND Insider recaps how 16 verbal pledges fared.

2019 DE NaNa Osafo-Mensah | Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic 31, All Saints 24: All Saints’ home crowd flooded Osafo-Mensah with “overrated” and “Notre Dame” chants all night. Not wise. He wreaked havoc, recording five tackles, five quarterback pressures, a sack, a TFL, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. His 14-yard third-down sack set-up All Saints’ failed fourth-down conversion to lose the game.

“I thought it was funny because all it did was motivate me to dominate them more,” Osafo-Mensah wrote through text message.

The Vikings (8-1) clinched the TAPPS 6A District 1 title with the win. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine had Nolan Catholic finishing last in its preseason predictions. Osafo-Mensah made certain people were aware of that.

June 30-November 2 Predicted to be last and now the DISTRICT CHAMPS!!!!! #iroNClad#doworkpic.twitter.com/Wwk7DIfStH

— NaNa Osafo-Mensah (@NaNaOsafo2) November 3, 2018

2019 QB Brendon Clark | Midlothian (Va.) Manchester 71, George Wythe 0: One word describes the season Clark is having — perfection. The Lancers (10-0) remained unbeaten under another flawless outing from Clark. His five touchdowns elevated his TD-INT ratio to 27-0 on the season. A 64-0 halftime lead shortened Clark’s night, as he threw for just 92 yards on 8-of-11 passing. Manchester begins its playoffs on Friday, hosting James River (3-7).

2019 OL Quinn Carroll | Edina (Minn.) High 28, St. Michael-Albertville 29: Carroll’s high school career came to an end in dramatic fashion. The Hornets (7-3) led 28-0 midway through the final quarter. St. Michael-Albertville first scored with 6:32 remaining, then recovered three consecutive onside kicks and found the end zone thrice more. 

Proud of the Hornets grace & class in the wake of gut punching loss. These are terrific young men coached by a great group of guys. This night won’t soon be forgotten, but it will be a significant life lesson in the years ahead. Great season, Hornets...you represented well. pic.twitter.com/zQEykLLZPQ

— Jay Carroll (@jaycarroll7) November 3, 2018

2019 DT Jacob Lacey | Bowling Green (Ky.) South Warren 48, Apollo 0: Lacey continued his dominance and remained productive despite playing in limited action. He totaled five tackles, three TFLs and two sacks. That brings him to 28 tackles, 17 TFLs, eight sacks and three forced fumbles over the last four games. The Spartans (12-0) advance to the second round and will challenge Grayson County (8-3) on Friday.

2019 CB K.J. Wallace | Atlanta Lovett 34, Westminster 28: Wallace suffered an ankle injury on the second play of the game, limiting him offensively. It did not plague him on the defensive side, though, as he registered two interceptions. Wallace’s second pick clinched the victory. The Lions (5-5) are now in a three-way tie for second in the AAA Region 5 standings with one game remaining.

2019 RB Kyren Williams | Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney 56, Parkway West 14: The Golden Griffiths (8-3) offered just nine touches for Williams. He made the most of them. Williams turned four carries into 126 yards and two touchdowns. He also hauled in five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Kyren Williams with the pass for a touchdown for the Griffins. Vianney now leads Parkway West 35-7. #RiseAbovepic.twitter.com/hBVgtzmNAl

— GriffinsTV (@GriffinsTV_Live) November 3, 2018

Even in closer games, Williams does not receive a large workload. He has never garnered 20-plus touches this season and has earned single-digit carries in five contests. He has 1,137 rushing yards, 647 receiving yards and 32 total touchdowns this year.

Kyren Williams with another touchdown for your Griffins. Vianney will now lead Parkway West 49-14. #RiseAbovepic.twitter.com/h3SIOcQoXo

— GriffinsTV (@GriffinsTV_Live) November 3, 2018

2019 LB Osita Ekwonu | Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day 12, Charlotte Christian 28: Ekwonu’s effort on both sides of the ball was not enough in this rematch, ending his season. He finished with 21 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for nine yards and recorded 10 tackles. The Chargers (5-6) closed out their regular season against the same opponent in the previous week. He went for 220 yards and three touchdowns on 28 attempts in the 33-32 loss.

What a GREAT 4 years for ⁦@HudsonReynolds2⁩ ⁦@BigIck91⁩ ⁦@Osita_Ekwonu59⁩! Good Luck next year! Go # NotreDame #Lehigh#NCStatepic.twitter.com/LvXIe0BaR5

— Chris Reynolds (@MCHudson100171) November 3, 2018

For the season, Ekwonu rushed for 765 yards and 12 touchdowns on 114 carries. He caught nine passes for 97 yards as well. On defense, Ekwonu tallied 90 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

2019 WR Kendall Abdur-Rahman | Edwardsville (Ill.) High 45, West Aurora 16: Abdur-Rahman went for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 11-for-16 passing. The game’s first score came on his 23-yard connection with Dionte Rodgers. An 11-yard toss to running back Justin Johnson improved the lead later to 35-10. Abdur-Rahman added 86 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He found the end zone on rushes of one and four yards.

The Tigers (8-3) advance to the third round and will travel to defending state champion Lincoln-Way East on Saturday.

#NewProfilePicpic.twitter.com/2utF4rkS8b

— Kendall Abdur-Rahman (@kendall4heisman) November 5, 2018

2019 LB Jack Kiser | Royal Center (Ind.) Pioneer 70, Lafayette Central Catholic 7: Kiser threw his second interception of the season and went just 1-of-3 for 19 yards. But on the ground? The 6-2, 215-pounder ran 18 times for 262 yards and six touchdowns. His scores were of 37, 11, 49, 20, 27 and 36 yards. Kiser also recorded eight tackles.

The Panthers (12-0) will play within an hour of South Bend for a regional championship and a trip to the Class A state semifinal. Bourbon (Ind.) Triton hosts Pioneer on Friday.

2020 QB Drew Pyne | New Canaan (Conn.) High 34, Norwalk 0: Pyne became New Canaan’s all-time leading passer in the victory, trumping Matt Milano’s record of 6,335 career passing yards. A 19-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Wilson rewrote the record book. Pyne’s first of two touchdown passes was a 24-yard connection to his favorite target, Quintin O’Connell. He finished 17-of-26 with 205 passing yards. Two regular season games remain for the Rams (6-2).

When the lights come on, New Canaan (CT) 2020 QB @dpyne10 lights it up!!!

The Notre Dame commit has unique twitch & suddenness to go along with a relentless competitive nature.

JR HL here https://t.co/OxZqNGUOSz

Preview the Quick Stroke here pic.twitter.com/Da7Mm172zG

— QB Country (@QBCountry) October 25, 2018

2019 S Litchfield Ajavon | Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal 14, Landon (Md.) 17: Ajavon had his most productive game of the year, tallying a season-high 14 tackles. He even earned his first carry of the season, but it went for just three yards. Landon amassed 262 total yards — but only 23 came through the air. The Maroons (5-3) have one more game before playoff action.

2019 CB Isaiah Rutherford | Carmichael (Calif.) Jesuit 49, Woodcreek 7: Rutherford proved why he could contend for Notre Dame’s punt return gig. He returned two punts for 77 yards — and one was for a 64-yard touchdown. Rutherford also caught two passes for 47 yards. The Marauders advance to the second round and will travel to Granite Bay (5-5).

2019 P Jay Bramblett | Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Hillcrest 20, James Clemens 17: A 49-yard punt return setup Hillcrest’s game-winning field goal as time expired. Also assisting in the win was Bramblett, who went 16-for-24 for 244 yards and a touchdown. Bramblett’s five punts averaged 46.6 yards, with three landing inside the 20-yard line and one traveling 52 yards. The Patriots (5-5) sneaked into the playoffs and will clash with Lanier (4-6) on Friday.

2019 OL Zeke Correll | Cincinnati Anderson 42, Kings 35: The Redskins (8-3) rallied to upset their Eastern Cincinnati Conference foe — which they fell to 35-14 on Sept. 14. Correll’s push helped Anderson amass 551 total yards. Quarterback David Thompson went 19-for-27 for 226 passing yards. Running back Bennett Snyder turned 25 carries into 133 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson faces Troy (10-1) next on Friday.

100% confident ✅, put up a lot of points ✅, smash mouth football ✅ Week 12 here we come #goskins#playoffmentality@AHSRedskins_ADpic.twitter.com/oeA0UYhE1e

— Zeke Correll (@zekecorrell) November 3, 2018

2019 DT Hunter Spears | Sachse (Texas) High 55, South Garland 0: The Mustangs (6-3) pitched their second shutout of the season under another impressive defensive performance. Friday’s regular season finale between Sachse and Rowlett (7-1) will decide who wins 6A Region II District 10.

2020 TE Michael Mayer | Park Hills (Ky.) Covington Catholic 49, Woodford County 0: The Colonels (11-0) opened up playoff action with a dominating victory. They will next clash with Montgomery County on Friday.

Byes: WR Cam Hart, S Kyle Hamilton, OL Andrew Kristofic, DE Howard Cross III, OL John Olmstead, TE Kevin Bauman.

*Stats were provided by players, parents, coaches, MaxPreps and the following news organizations: Tuscaloosa News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stamford Advocate, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, WCPO-TV, Journal & Courier, Star Tribune and Edwardsville Intelligencer.

Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic's NaNa Osafo-Mensah, a 2019 defensive tackle, committed to Notre Dame on May 19, 2018.