Notre Dame’s recruiting surge under coach Marcus Freeman took another step Saturday when four-star defensive lineman Devan Houstan committed to the Irish, keeping the program at the top of the national team rankings on 247Sports and On3. Houstan in the 12th public commitment in Notre Dame’s class and the fourth four-star defensive lineman, as Freeman continues to push the idea that the program can raise its recruiting level under the new coaching staff.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive tackle from the St. James School in Hagerstown, Md., also held offers from Michigan and Penn State. He visited Notre Dame in January for a Junior Day event before the Irish had even completed their coaching staff under Freeman, but that weekend with Notre Dame’s new head coach and defensive line coach Al Washington was enough to make a lasting impression. Houstan joins a defensive line group of five-star Keon Keeley, four-star Brenan Vernon and four-star Boubacar Traore.
All four commitments are ranked among the top 200 prospects overall in the 247Sports Composite Rating. Only 10 defensive linemen ranked among 2023’s top 200 prospects nationally have committed, and Notre Dame holds four of those pledges.
While Notre Dame signed five four-star defensive linemen four years ago (Jacob Lacey, Isaiah Foskey, Hunter Spears, Nana Osafo-Mensah and Howard Cross), Keeley, Vernon and Traore are all ranked higher than anyone in that class was. Houstan is rated higher than four of them, behind only Lacey.
Notre Dame is not just landing unique quantity along the defensive line; the group’s quality hasn’t hit this level in more than a decade.
(Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today)