Vernon (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) held 13 offers, including from major programs like Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. His 0.9908 player rating on 247Sports ranks third highest in the Brian Kelly era behind Jaylon Smith and Aaron Lynch.
The 247Sports Composite Rankings have Vernon slated as the No. 18 overall player in the country, No. 6 defensive lineman in the nation, and No. 2 Ohio prospect for 2023.
Vernon is a major recruiting win against Ohio State for Notre Dame defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. Elston and Freeman are each from Ohio. Freeman is likely more connected to the state of the two after spending the past four years as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati.
According to Pete Sampson of The Athletic, Freeman bought the defensive staff Van’s shoes to wear for Vernon’s visit last week after learning the recruit liked them.
247Sports Scouting Report on Vernon
National Analyst Gabe Brooks: “Tall and long-levered with tons of frame space moving forward. Build and look of a strong-side end but frame potential to suit multiple roles in varying fronts. Plays very active and motor runs hots. Uses length to advantage when disengaging. Leverage consistency is better than expected relative to naturally high center of gravity. Flashes some counter ability as a rusher. Can improve fluidity and expand pass-rush arsenal. Seems like a particularly high-floor prospect among the nation’s elite defenders in the 2023 class.”