Three-star DE David Abiara commits to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The good feeling about Notre Dame didn’t fade for David Abiara.

After visiting the Irish on Feb. 1, the three-star defensive end continued to see his recruiting stock rise. He added offers from LSU, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and others. Two days before his Notre Dame visit, Alabama offered Abiara.

Though the offer list became more crowded, the decision for Abiara became clear. Abiara announced a verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Friday.

"I just felt like it was the right school for me,” Abiara said Friday afternoon after announcing his commitment on Twitter. “I went on the visit and my family loved it, I loved it, so it was time to make that decision.”

The 6-foot-4, 248-pound product of Mansfield (Texas) Legacy picked the Irish out of a top seven that included LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Notre Dame offered Abiara on Jan. 23 before several others followed suit.

247Sports slates Abiara as the No. 18 strongside defensive end in the 2021 class. Rivals ranks him No. 21 at the position.

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who met Abiara in early March, sees an even higher ceiling for the new Irish commit.

"He has real long arms, strong hands, a great first step," Lemming said. "He has all the tools to become a great defensive end. He's a four-plus, but he even has five-star potential. That's how good he is. That's a big catch for them."

Abiara, who recorded 15 sacks as a junior, said he was impressed on his Notre Dame visit by the coaching staff, the atmosphere and the people on campus.

“They're really good people and it's a great environment,” Abiara said. “It was a no-brainer for me.”

The coronavirus pandemic shifted the NCAA’s recruiting calendar into a dead period from March 13 through at least April 15. That eliminated the opportunity for recruits to visit college campuses and college coaches to visit high schools. But it doesn’t prevent communication between coaches and recruits.

Abiara said he planned to make visits to LSU and Alabama, but he knew he was ready to commit to Notre Dame. His relationships with Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston and recruiting coordinator Brian Polian gave him confidence in his choice.

"They're super down-to-earth guys and they know what they're talking about,” Abiara said. “The combination of the two is hard to find."

Abiara gives Notre Dame seven verbal commitments in the 2021 class. He joins four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio and three-star safety Justin Walters on the defense. Abiara has already been in touch with Rubio, and he’s built a relationship with four-star offensive tackle commit Blake Fisher, who was also on campus when Abiara visited in February.

“Blake, we've gotten really close in recent weeks,” Abiara said. “It was very important for me to find somebody to connect with in the recruiting class.”

The addition of Abiara brought much needed good news for Notre Dame. Its biggest recruiting weekend of the spring (March 20-22) was wiped out by the coronavirus shutdown. Then four-star wide receiver Deion Colzie backed off his verbal commitment to the Irish last week.

Elston could help build recruiting momentum with more success on the defensive line. The Irish are considered top contenders for defensive ends Jason Onye and Aaron Armitage as well.

Lemming said most of the top defensive ends in the country he's spoken to have mentioned being contacted by Notre Dame.

"You have to give Elston credit," Lemming said. "He goes after all the top defensive ends with grades. He doesn't back down from Clemson, Alabama or Ohio State. That's what Notre Dame has to do to win a national title."

The seven-man Irish class ranks fifth nationally on Rivals behind Ohio State, Clemson, Florida and North Carolina. All four classes ahead of Notre Dame already have at least 10 commitments. 247Sports pegs Notre Dame's 2021 class at No. 7 in the country.

Perhaps Notre Dame knew that good news was coming out of the state of Texas this week. On Thursday, the football program announced it would stream on Facebook a replay of Notre Dame’s 38-3 home victory over Texas from 2015 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. EDT) with head coach Brian Kelly.

The Irish have certainly had more important home victories during Kelly’s tenure, but the lopsided win over the Longhorns was picked for the spotlight. Texas hasn’t offered Abiara, but his commitment is still a significant victory in the Lone Star State for Notre Dame.

On Friday afternoon, Kelly tweeted his customary commitment celebration: “#WeAreND.”

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Three-star defensive end David Abiara announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Friday.