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Star Mentor defensive end Brenan Vernon commits to Notre Dame

The junior had also been considering Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama, among others.
Credit: Brenan Vernon

MENTOR, Ohio — The best high school football player in Northeast Ohio will continue his career at arguably the most-storied program in the nation.

Mentor defensive end Brenan Vernon, a consensus five-star prospect, officially committed to Notre Dame Tuesday. The junior star made the announcement on his Twitter page.

"I would like to take some time to thank my family, Coach [Matt] Gray and all of the Mentor coaches, my teammates, and my boys that I call brothers—the ones who have molded me from the ground up to make me the individual that I am today," Vernon wrote. "Without them none of this would be possible."

A highly-touted recruit since before he even joined the varsity squad, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Vernon recorded 45 tackles and two sacks as a freshman to help the Cardinals reach the Division I state semifinals. He missed most of his sophomore year due to injury, but still received scholarship offers from several of America's college football powerhouses, including Alabama, Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State.

For months, it was rumored that Vernon would head down I-71 south and play for the Buckeyes, but it was instead the Irish who swooped in and landed the stud lineman. In an interview with Bucknuts from before he made his decision public, Vernon lauded the efforts of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman (a former OSU linebacker) and defensive line coach Mike Elston to get him to South Bend.

"As soon as I stepped foot on campus, it just kind of felt like I fit in," Vernon told the publication. "They make me feel like I fit in, like I'm family."

Veron is Notre Dame's second commitment from the recruiting class of 2023, and 247Sports reports five-star Pickerington Central safety Sonny Styles is also leaning towards the school. In addition, ND is also pursuing two four-star Ohio recruits from the upcoming 2022 class: Huber Height Wayne offensive tackle Aamil Wagner and La Salle running back Gi’Bran Payne.

Besides football, Vernon is also a member of the Mentor boys basketball team and is an honor student at the high school