Graduate student defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola has been a huge part of the Irish defense the last two seasons, and he has found ways to make big plays at the most important of times this season.
So far this season, Ademilola has been key to the Irish defense, totaling 24 total tackles, six solo tackles, three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Arguably the biggest moment for Ademilola came in Las Vegas against BYU. With the Cougars driving late in the game, Ademilola came up with a big stop on a key fourth-and-one with the Irish up by eight points. Head coach Marcus Freeman praised Ademilola for his timely stop after the win against BYU.
“At the biggest moments, he shows up,” Freeman said. “He’s going to make sure he makes a play.”
Jayson’s twin brother, Justin, commented on Jayson’s stop after the game.
“[Jayson] was really excited. I think I got the stop before on the third down, and then I said ‘Jay, go get it right now. Let’s win it.’ And he did just that,” Ademilola said.
Justin also talked about how his brother writes FTB, which stands for ‘For the Brotherhood,’ on his body before every game.
“Jayson is a very emotional guy and every game he puts FTB on his wrist, arm and all over his body. And when it’s time to go get it for the brotherhood, he’s going to get it and get it done for the brotherhood,” Ademilola said.
After practice this week, Jayson commented on how the lead up to senior day has been and what it means to his family to have both twins on the field Saturday.
“It’s been great. I am so happy for my family,” Ademilola said. “They are coming out here for the last time for the last home game. I talked to my parents and Justin this morning, and they are super excited to capture the whole moment.”
And in terms of how meaningful this final trip will be for them, Ademilola said, ““It’s going to be great. It’s going to be a great experience for my family. Justin and I are excited for the moment, but I know that [my family] are probably going to have even bigger smiles on their face knowing that we made it this far. It’s going to be a great moment for my family.”
The Ademilola family will be celebrating their sons five year careers with the Fighting Irish. The pair arrived in 2018 and while Jayson took to the field immediately, Justin saved a year of eligibility. Ademilola discussed what the college journey with his brother has been like since they arrived their freshman year and how it feels to have the chance to play with each other.
“We still remember our first day on campus, our first camp and our first game. It’s just a journey, and we are grateful to even be here,” Ademilola said. “Sometimes you just go on with the day. I don’t think about it as much anymore, but I do get times where I realize that I am really doing this with my twin brother. Not many people can say that they even went to college with their family, and we get to play football together at the highest level.”
Ademilola recalled the first summer camp he ever went to at Notre Dame. There, he met some of his lifelong Notre Dame friends and teammates.
“From that day, it was seeing who were going to be my best friends during my time at Notre Dame ... Now I am a fifth year senior, and a lot of years have gone by, but we are still close,” Ademilola said.
Ademilola understands the importance of enjoying the final set of college football games with his brother.
“We are really just trying to enjoy the moment,” Ademilola said. “We are probably going to remember the last three games of the season really well, so why not go out with a bang. That’s really what our thought process is at, which is to try to be the best versions of brothers around for the last three games.”
Ademilola believes that the work the team has done this season will have a huge impact on the Notre Dame football program in the upcoming years.
“This whole season, my only goal each week is to win and win one for the team and for the guys. This season is way more than what anyone ever expected. We may not talk about this season and what it was until another five years from now, but it’s a lot. It takes a lot to go out there and win,” Ademilola said.