2020 German DE Alexander Ehrensberger commits to Notre Dame

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston took a different route on the recruiting trail this week — traveling to Europe.

Elston’s trek paid off as the Irish landed a verbal commitment from 2020 defensive end Alexander Ehrensberger. The Düsseldorf (Germany) Theodor-Fliedner-Gymnasium product announced the news on Twitter Thursday night.

My decision is made!

100% committed! ☘️ #GoIrish@CoachBrianKelly@CoachMikeElston@aarynkearney@PPIRecruits@BCollier56pic.twitter.com/73DkbpVL7T

— Alexander Ehrensberger (@AlexanderEhren2) January 31, 2019

The 6-foot-7, 238-pounder visited South Bend on Nov. 20, 2018 and announced an ND offer on Nov. 27. Among the schools Ehrensberger visited in 2018 were Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. Florida International remains as his only offer beyond ND, though.

Ehrensberger recorded 33 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and four blocked kicks last season. 247Sports rates Ehrensberger three stars, slating him as its No. 51 SDE, No. 1 German prospect and No. 975 overall player in his class.

Brandon Collier, founder of PPI Recruits, a company that grooms international prospects, trains Ehrensberger. Both were visited by Elston this week. Collier lauded Elston's efforts this week on Twitter.

Amazing how @NDFootball made Europe a priority and is Recruting our guys here! Playoff team still finding a way to get the edge on the rest #Salute#Respect

— Brandon Collier (@BCollier56) January 29, 2019

Amazing to have @NDFootball coach @CoachMikeElston visit me at the @PPIRecruits home in Germany! All I ever wanted was these Europeans to have an opportunity and with a Power house like ND in Europe is the next step! Thank You Coach for believing in our kids @FootballScooppic.twitter.com/EJRs4wexBK

— Brandon Collier (@BCollier56) January 29, 2019

Elston also checked in on another German prospect, 2019 defensive tackle Joseph Appiah Darkwa. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has not reported an ND offer but is considering the Irish.  

Penn State, Rutgers, UCLA, Cincinnati and others have offered Darkwa. He visited Penn State and UCLA earlier this month and trekked to Rutgers in November. Darkwa is expected to announce his decision on Friday.

Considering he has not announced a visit to South Bend, Darkwa joining the Irish seems less than likely. Darkwa was initially a 2020 recruit before reclassifying. He will make his decision official on National Signing Day, which is Wednesday.

ND’s willingness to recruit Darkwa this late might be telling of Asa Turner’s situation. The 2019 Irish linebacker target will soon decide between ND and Washington. The Irish are expected to add Concord (Calif.) De La Salle defensive end Isaiah Foskey, which would bump the tight scholarship count to 89.

Irish coaches Brian Polian and Clark Lea had an in-home visit with Turner on Jan. 21. Since then, two players surfaced on ND’s radar, Darkwa and grad transfer Eric Kumah. The former Virginia Tech receiver announced this week that he would take an official visit to South Bend on Feb. 23.

In December, head coach Brian Kelly told Eric Hansen in an interview for WSBT’s Radio’s Weekday Sportsbeat that the Irish weren’t in the market for grad transfers at the time, though wide receiver Miles Boykin had yet to ponder whether to return for a fifth year and eventually chose to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Husky staff visited Turner on Thursday looking to secure a commitment. Turner’s plan has been to commit before signing his National Letter of Intent.

Washington Staff in the Facility! #godogs !! C’s up!!! @UW_Football#golancerspic.twitter.com/t0zIhhclwB

— Carlsbad HS Football (@Cbad_Football) January 31, 2019

ND’s current 2019 class of 21 signees ranks No. 12 on 247Sports and Rivals. By adding Ehrensberger, ND’s 2020 class of four commits now ranks No. 11 on Rivals and No. 12 on 247Sports.  

2020 defensive end Alexander Ehrensberger, a Düsseldorf (Germany) Fryeburg Academy product, committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 31, 2019.