Okwara honored to be leading strong Irish defensive front

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - This week on 16 News Now, we've been breaking down the seven Notre Dame football captains.

We wrapped things up Friday night with defensive end Julian Okwara.

Okwara dominated throughout the 2018 season, recording 38 tackles. He led the team with 12 1/2 tackles for a loss and eight sacks.

Okwara returns for his senior season after considering leaving for the NFL.

Okwara joins Khalid Kareem as the pair of defensive ends among the seven Irish captains.

He said he is honored to lead the Irish and be a member of such a strong defensive front

“We all do a good job at listening to what the coaches want us to do and being the same guy every day, coming in with the same mind set, coming to work being the best every day,” Okwara said. “I think we take pride in that. It's an honor to be a part of this brotherhood."

His fellow defensive end captain agrees.

“This D-line unit that we have right now is incredible,” Kareem said.”I mean, we produced a lot last year, but you know everyone is rushing together this year -- Julian, Daelin, Ade, Jamir, Kurt, Myron -- we're going to be unstoppable this year.”

Having such a strong defensive front benefits the offensive line as well.

“We have some of the best defensive ends in the country,” offensive lineman Robert Hainsey said. “There's no secret about it. It's a blast going against those guys in practice. You just get to work every play, and it gets you better. They do things and if they get you on one that I realize this is something I need to work on.”

On Saturday, Okwara and the Fighting Irish will practice at Notre Dame Stadium in front of season ticket holders and university faculty and staff.