Teams will go to no ends to fill their team with talent; anything to give them a competitive advantage on the field. In a day and age where recruiting athletes is becoming an incredibly competitive business, we see teams taking alternative routes to field their team. With recruiting powerhouses such as Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson continually poaching players away from other programs, it’s no surprise that other programs are getting creative with their recruiting process.
Notre Dame recently revealed that their defensive line coach Mike Elston was going to Germany to recruit a pair of players — the players being Joseph Appiah Darkwa (class of 2019) and Alexander Ehrensberger (class of 2020). Both of the players play for the Duesseldorf Panthers U19 team. The Duesseldorf Panthers is an American football club founded in 1978. As of now, Duesseldorf remains the oldest existing American football club in Europe.
To add to their lasting reign, they have won six German Bowls and the Eurobowl in 1995 being the first German team to even win it. Just even being apart of the Duesseldorf Panthers U19 team speaks to Darkwa’s and Ehrensberger’s talents and success.
Darkwa is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive tackle, according to 247 Sports. On top of this report, they also list him as a three-star recruit and rank him as the 69th best defensive tackle for his class. He has interest from Penn State, UCLA, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and many more schools.
On the other hand, 247 sports reports Ehrensberger is listed as a 6-foot-7, 230-pound strongside defensive end. He is ranked 49th for his position in the class of 2020. Schools that are also interested in Ehrensberger are FIU and Ohio State. However, other than Notre Dame FIU is the only other school to give Ehrensberger an offer in his young career. This will probably change as Ehrensberger continues into his senior season.
Kevin Sinclair from Irish Illustrated actually spoke with Ehrensberger about his offer from Notre Dame. Ehrensberger stated, “I was speechless when coach Elston called me. I was speechless. I was honored, thankful, I was blessed.”
Ehrensberger also had high praise for Coach Elston.
“I like his character, like his attitude,” he added. “I like him as a person. It feels good to be around him.” It’s obvious that coach Elston left a lasting impact that should get Irish fans excited.
Notre Dame made the interesting decision to send Elston to Germany to meet with the prospects. We often see coaches travel around the United States to fill their rosters but rarely do we see them travel internationally. Yes, programs might give offers to international recruits, but traveling for an in-person visit shows how serious Notre Dame is about both of these three-star recruits.