Notre Dame Recruiting Profile: Xavier Nwankpa – Security

One of the top Notre Dame destinations in 2022 is Pleasant Hill, Iowa Southeast Polk Xavier Nwankpa.


Hometown: Nice hill, Iowa
Secondary school: Southeast Polk

height: 6-2
Weight: 185

IB grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber prospect)
Upside grade: 5.0

Offers: Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, USC, Texas A&M, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, Michigan, Florida State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, State of Michigan, Kentucky, Minnesota, State of Arizona, Illinois

Recruited by: Marcus Freeman, Mike Mickens and Chris O’Leary

Recruitment of leaderboards


Although not that long, Nwankpa reminds me a lot of the current security of Notre Dame Kyle Hamilton. He is the true modern security; He can play in midfield, he’s a major force in the back alley, he’s a high profile run defender, he’s very good at man reporting and he’s incredibly productive.

It’s big, long, and its range is really great. Sometimes Nwankpa doesn’t look like he’s running that fast, but his long strides and acceleration allow him to close on tracks and on ball carriers in a hurry.

Nwankpa is a supple and fluid athlete who shows first-class speed and balance of the foot. His change of direction is impressive and Nwankpa’s ability to set his foot and explode quickly downhill makes him a vital weapon against the barrel and also enables him to go fast on tracks. Nwankpa has to clean up his footwork, but he shows the agility, flexibility and acceleration to open up and run at a high level.

What makes Nwankpa such a tremendous security is that it is exceptionally productive. I was surprised how often he got his hands on football in preparation. My surprise wasn’t that a top player was productive, but my surprise was watching certain games and saying to me, “There’s no way he’s coming to this one,” and then his acceleration would take over and he would get to the ball and either break, lift off, or pierce the receiver to release the ball.

It’s one thing to be long and athletic, but you can’t be as productive on the ball as Nwankpa without also being a very instinctive and smart football player. His high soccer IQ is another reason Nwankpa reminds me so much of Hamilton. Nwankpa’s anticipation is special and his route recognition is advanced for such a young player.

Nwankpa is also skinny like Hamilton in high school, but he’s a well-defined player, he’s a strong tackler, and he has some pop when he hits the ball.

Related content:

Notre Dame 2022 scholarship offers

Notre Dame 2022 class Big Board


5.0 – elite players
4.5 – All-American caliber player
4.0 – Multi-year starter
3.5 – Key role / late career starter
3.0 – backup

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