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The Missing Legacy Link: Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng

Written by: Jhett Garrett Writer Twitter/X: @JhettGarrett

Photo via Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng (Instagram)


Since the dawn of the 2010s, the University of Notre Dame has been one of the most premier destinations for linebackers. The Butkus Award, an award granted to the top linebacker in college football, was introduced in 1985 when it was first given to Brian Bosworth of the University of Oklahoma. It would take 27 years for Notre Dame to get their first Butkus Award winner in South Bend, but in 2012, Manti Te’o left voters no choice. Just three years later in 2015, Jaylon Smith would become the second member of the Irish to win the award, and Jerimiah Owusu-Koramoah would win it in 2020. With the way things are shaping up, Notre Dame could have their next Butkus Award winner in the 2025 class.


Notre Dame has already landed a commitment from four-star Anthony Sacca, the number nine linebacker in the 2025 class according to Rivals.com, and it seems that as things stand, Notre Dame is still in the running to add a few more top-100 names at the linebacker position before the end of the cycle. Madden Faraimo and Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng are two names to keep an eye on down the stretch.


Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng has received an offer from nearly every Power Four school you could imagine. Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, Michigan, etc. After months of uncertainty, the pendulum has swung in Notre Dame’s favor, as he has been Futurecasted to the Irish by Rivals following his official visit.


The name may sound familiar, as he is the brother of Notre Dame’s most recent Butkus Award winner, and member of the Cleveland Browns, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. During his time in South Bend, Owusu-Koramoah totaled 24.5 TFLs, seven sacks, 142 tackles, five forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown during his award-winning final season. Now in the NFL, he is coming off his best season yet. The third-year linebacker totaled 101 tackles, a league-leading 24 TFLs, two interceptions, and a forced fumble while helping lead the Browns to their second playoff appearance since 2002.


Owusu-Boateng transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida before his junior season last year. In eight games, the linebacker played a national schedule, finishing with 45 tackles, six TFLs, a PBU, one sack, and a fumble recovery. Entering his senior year, one of the biggest developments for Owusu-Boateng will be his physical growth.


Currently, Owusu-Boateng stands at 6’2”, weighing in at around 205 pounds. It can be more than expected that the young linebacker is going to put on lean muscle, allowing him to have more of an impact in the backfield, not unlike his brother. Watching his film, you can already see his ability to shed pass blockers and get to the quarterback whenever he is called upon to do so, however, once he puts on even more muscle and potentially grows a little more, there is not a single linebacker in the class that comes close to Owusu-Boateng.


This past season at IMG Academy, Owusu-Boateng served as a middle linebacker who was an elite run stopper with the ability to track down any pass catcher with his top-tier speed and agility. Once he spots the ball leave the quarterback’s hand, he hits a second gear that allows him to run through ball carriers. He was included in special teams as well, where he was able to showcase the speed he possesses when getting down the field. It is going to be harder to find a linebacker, or any player for that matter, with the build of Owusu-Boateng - but when you couple that with his speed, he is virtually unstoppable.


Heading into his final year of high school, Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng is a consensus four-star recruit, however, the potential for him to jump to five-star status is very real. For the publications that have Owusu-Boateng ranked lower than others, it can be highly anticipated that that number will change once his season kicks off. He has released his top five including the Irish, as well as Florida, Ohio State, USC, and Michigan.


At the beginning of June, Owusu-Boateng stepped back on Notre Dame’s campus for an official visit with his older brother. From afar, Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng feels like a perfect fit for Marcus Freeman and Al Golden’s defense, and up close, he believes the same thing. He praised the way that Freeman went beyond being just a legacy, but also tapping into his skillset that would fit beautifully into the Notre Dame culture. Owusu-Boateng believes that Freeman views him as someone who can “come in and impact the program.”


Following the visit, Owusu-Boateng spoke highly of Notre Dame’s football opportunities, as well as the academic opportunities. He, like many other smart recruits, realizes that Notre Dame is not just a four-year destination following high school; it is a lifetime achievement that will be able to take you to amazing places throughout your entire life. “Just seeing that whole part of it all separates Notre Dame from all the other schools I’m looking at.”


Before his Notre Dame visit, he was out west for a visit to Southern California, and he also completed visits to Michigan and Ohio State since his recent trip to South Bend. A decision is not expected from Owusu-Boateng any time soon, meaning that this process is far from over. However, with Notre Dame seemingly making a large impression, it is hard not to be excited for the potential that Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng could tap into in South Bend: A potential Butkus Award winner who will play on Sundays.


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