Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was fantastic. It allowed just 344 yards per game – skewed way too much statistically by the two games with Clemson and the Alabama loss – and now there’s just enough back to keep it all going under defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who spent the last few years as Luke Fickell’s DC at Cincinnati.
– There’s no replacing Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at rover/linebacker, but 227-pound super-senior Drew White is back in the middle after tying for second on the team with 57 tackles to go along with nine tackles for loss.
227-pound Jack Kiser will get the longest look at replacing Owusu-Koramoah – even if he’s not bringing anywhere near the same all-around game – and 230-pounders Shayne Simon and Bo Bower bring the size.
The defensive front should be more than fine even though it has to move on without Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji on the outside.
296-pound rock Kurt Hinish returns on the nose, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is a big end or a quick tackle. and Isaiah Foskey should be the team’s leading pass rusher. Justin Ademilola might be a backup in the end rotation, but he’s a rising star.
– The secondary has one of the best players in college football. Safety Kyle Hamilton has been a force for the last two years with the upside to be a top ten overall pick when he’s ready to go to the next level. He’s missing some veteran parts, though, with fellow safety Shaun Crawford and corner Nick McCloud done.
Houston Griffith is a good-sized 204-pound safety who can be used in a variety of roles, and the mix of veteran Clarence Lewis, Cam Hart and TaRiq Bracy should make for a sneaky-good corner situation – now they all have to star picking off passes.