Scout's Take: Irish Commit Isaac Rochell

Isaac Rochell

Four-star defensive end Isaac Rochell was the latest prospect to join Notre Dame's 2013 class when he pledged late Wednesday night. So, what is Notre Dame getting? IrishEyes.com takes an in-depth look at the Eagles Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) standout.

Isaac Rochell was ready to commit earlier in the spring, but decided to wait a little longer.

After a weekend visit to Notre Dame, all he needed was a little more time to think it over, and by Wednesday night the Eagles Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) four-star defensive end was committed to the Irish.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Rochell became the second defensive end to join Notre Dame's 2013 class. Jacob Matuska of Bishop Hartley High (Columbus, Ohio) committed three months ago.

The interesting thing with Rochell is he wasn't interested in Notre Dame until his first visit to campus, and then the Irish quickly became the team to beat.

IrishEyes.com took an in-depth look at Rochell's junior tape to form a scouting report on what Notre Dame is getting with its 14th commitment.

What to like
Rochel exudes athleticism. The Irish recruited Rochell as a defensive end, and he is very good there, but to see his athleticism really shine just watch several clips of the tape as he plays offensive tackle.

Rochell moves well, extends his arms well and looks like a natural pulling on to lead the running game. He also fires off quickly and can turn his hips to spin a blocker.

That said, we know Rochell was recruited for defense, and the Irish are already filled with offensive line commits, so we will stick to that side of the ball.

Rochell had 97 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, and he showed an ability to get down the line of scrimmage, get off blocks to be versatile in playing with his hand on the ground and standing up like an outside linebacker, which could benefit the Irish in their 3-4 defensive scheme.

When looking at Rochell's ability, the play that begins at the 29-second mark shows his ability to get down the line of scrimmage and make a play in pursuit. At the 38-second mark, he gets chipped by a pair of blockers but gets his arms extended to get the blockers off and then makes the play at the sideline.

At the 1:08 mark, Rochell is able to press the offensive lineman off him and get inside and get to the quarterback for a sack. His length is also a huge asset since he can reach ball carriers, and also bat down passes.

At the 3:45 mark, Rochell again is able to get an offensive lineman off him and is aware of what is transpiring in the backfield and is looking to make the play.

What needs work
Keep in mind Rochell is a four-star prospect and the No. 12 defensive end in the nation for a reason, but it doesn't mean there aren't things that need work.

First, too often he allows an offensive lineman to get hands on him. Because of good strength and length, Rochell is able to get those offensive linemen off, but it won't be that way in college. He is going to have to develop quicker hands in order to maximize his production.

Second, Rochell needs to get stronger. That is easy to say about a lot of high school lineman, but it is said here because Rochell doesn't play with the brute strength. His game will never be that, but he needs to get stronger or he will get overpowered in college.

Third, his defensive highlights are impressive, but he doesn't use a speed rush and doesn't show an ability to get around the offensive line. Rochell is more of an inside penetration defensive end. He is impressive at it, but he needs to make sure offenses are caught off balance and he isn't susceptible to counter runs and allow the running back to bounce outside.

Finally, take a look at the play at the 3:45 mark of the tape. It is impressive to watch Rochell track down the runner from behind, but such an effort is needed because he slowed down his pursuit to the sideline. If he keeps running hard, he may stop the play at the sideline for a 5-yard gain.

In summation
There is so much to like, especially the way Rochell blocks as a tackle. If Notre Dame didn't have a packed class there already, I would have been inclined to write this as an offensive tackle recap. That said, Rochell has the athleticism to play standing up or with his hand on the ground, and his length will give offensive lines a lot of trouble.

Rochell has the skills and work ethic to be an outstanding player. He may be able to play as a true freshman, but a red-shirt season will do him wonders.


Junior highlights

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