A look at a few of Notre Dame’s dozen defensive signees in the class of 2024 through Marcus Freeman’s words

Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa
Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa

Of the 23 recruits Notre Dame signed last month, 12 of them will begin their careers on the defensive side of the ball, led by two sons of NFL Hall of Famers and a five-star linebacker. Irish head coach Marcus Freeman did not discuss every one of the dozen defenders on National Signing Day the week before Christmas, but he did delve into those three, in particular.

Freeman on five-star linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa: “He’s probably the most college-ready recruit we have, physically, mentally. Comes from an unbelievable program in St. Bosco, but he’s so mature. He’s got, the more you talk to him, he’s got a goofy side, but Kyngstonn is mature. I already said, he’s like a grown man. …

“As a football player, he is a physical tackler, he is physical in block destruction. There are a lot of traits he has that make him one of the highest-rated linebackers in the country. To get him here, get him here early, he’ll have a chance to compete right away for sure.”

Freeman on four-star defensive end Bryce Young, son of former Irish defensive tackle Bryant Young: “Well, you know, his last name obviously tells us what his bloodline is like. Nobody talks about his mom, who was a track star. He gets it from his mom.

“He came to camp, and he was this tall, skinny, but he showed some skill sets that said okay, this guy is going to be good. Now you look at him, he’s huge. In a year, might have been a year and a half, he’s gained weight, I think he’s even gotten taller.

“He has the tools. He has everything I’m sure his father had when he came here.

“He’s going to be a great player for us.”

Both Young and safety Kennedy Urlacher are the sons of NFL Hall of Famers, the kinds of high-school recruits that have seen the heights football can provide. Freeman argued those heights best illustrate what Notre Dame has to offer off the field, as well.

“When you are dads are Hall of Famers, the fathers can say this game will end. You want to make a decision that will help you reach all your athletic goals. Don’t cheat your athletic, goals, but understan the game of football ends so fast.

“You’re talking about guys that have played multiple years in the NFL, but I think even talking to Brian Urlacher, he’s able to tell Kennedy, ‘Hey man, this game’s going to end. Go somewhere you can maximize your football opportunities, but understand, set yourself up for life after football.’

“Coming from the Urlacher family, a guy that didn’t come here but understood the value of Notre Dame, he had a huge impact on his son Kennedy.

“I think Bryce is different, because his parents both went here. But Brian didn’t and still understood how special this place was.”

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