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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 12 Ian Book, quarterback

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot, 205 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Sophomore with four years of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season.
Depth chart: Entering spring practices, some wondered who would back up junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Would senior Montgomery VanGorder’s time invested make the difference? Would freshman Avery Davis need to arrive and be immediately ready for action? Could Book prove himself worthy of being one play away from taking snaps? Book could and did just that.
Recruiting: When former Irish offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford arrived from Boise State in 2015, he already had a quarterback target in mind. Sanford’s recruitment landed Book, a consensus three-star prospect and the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country per rivals.com, who still held an offer from Boise State as well as Washington State.

CAREER TO DATE
Book preserved a year of eligibility in 2016. For that matter, so did Wimbush. One could argue the understudy outperformed the starter in the spring’s Blue-Gold Game, though the understudy was also competing against the second-team defense whereas Wimbush faced Notre Dame’s starters.

Book in Blue-Gold Game: 18-of-25 for 271 yards passing and one touchdown.
Wimbush in Blue-Gold Game: 22-of-32 for 303 yards passing and one rushing touchdown.

QUOTE(S)
Following Book’s impressive performance in the spring finale, Irish coach Brian Kelly indicated it was consistent with the displays from the majority of the previous 14 practices, reassuring the Notre Dame coaching staff it had a viable contingency plan should Wimbush suffer an injury.

“Consistency, throws strikes, rarely misses an open receiver, can see the field very well, runs the offense very well,” Kelly said in describing the positives Book had shown. “… Having that No. 2 and seeing him perform the way he has this spring, for me, has been one of the big stories. And Ian has done this all spring.

“.. You could point to [Book’s] performance today and say it was a surprise — it wasn’t a surprise to me. He’s shown that. I thought he would go out and play really well. I’m glad he did.”

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
Unless the sky is falling, Book is wearing a redshirt. And that’s the best thing for him — even if he’ll prepare as the emergency No. 3, a duty Wimbush was pushed into last year.

“A look at Notre Dame’s depth chart and the war chest of talent accumulated at the position makes these next five years look like an uphill climb to get onto the field. But until Book steps foot on campus, all bets are off.

“Remember, [former Irish quarterback and current Notre Dame quarterbacks coach] Tommy Rees entered Notre Dame with two other quarterbacks at his position, both rated better than him by recruiting analysts. But it was Rees that pushed past the five-star recruit already on campus for two seasons and his two classmates.

“Of course, DeShone Kizer, Malik Zaire and Brandon Wimbush aren’t Dayne Crist, Andrew Hendrix and Luke Massa. But until we see Book at the college level, it’s a wait and see proposition.

“But the freshman has a key role on the 2016 team. Even if everybody hopes he won’t have to do it.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Book will backup Wimbush. That also means, Book will play this season. By no means is that a prediction Wimbush will suffer an injury, though that is obviously possible. Rather, it is a prediction Kelly will get Book into a game the first chance he has, quite likely in the second half against Temple if the Irish lead is cushion enough.

Getting Book a few reps then, or perhaps two weeks later at Boston College (reminder: Sept. 16 features a noon ET kickoff), will help calm any nerves for when he may have to step in for Wimbush in a competitive situation. Perhaps Wimbush rolls an ankle a few minutes before halftime against North Carolina or maybe he takes a shot to the head against North Carolina State. Either scenario would force Book to move the offense forward without missing a step in what should be tight games.

DOWN THE ROAD
There is no reason to think Book could not be a solid starting quarterback for the Irish. There is also no reason to expect Wimbush will falter over the next two or three seasons. Davis has given every reason to believe he will be ready to contribute in a year. Then there are promising high schoolers Phil Jurkovec (class of 2018 commitment; Pine-Richland High School, Gibsonia, Pa.) and Cade McNamara (class of 2019 commitment; Damonte Ranch H.S., Reno, Nev.).

Rees, Kelly and offensive coordinator Chip Long have plenty to work with at quarterback, obscuring any projection of Book’s future. In that respect, Sanford’s departure to take over the Western Kentucky program may have hurt Book the most. He was, at least more than anybody else, Sanford’s guy, though he would still not have started over Wimbush in 2017. Then again, perhaps Rees sees a better version of his younger self when he looks at Book.

Whenever Wimbush leaves Notre Dame, Book will get his chance to lead the Irish offense, but he will have to hold off at least Davis to do it, if not also Jurkovec and maybe even McNamara. If Wimbush stays through 2019 for a fifth year, Book would be entering his own fifth year in 2020, with Davis having two seasons of eligibility remaining, Jurkovec three and McNamara four as a sophomore, theoretically speaking.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
No. 29: Kevin Stepherson, receiver
No. 28: Nicco Fertitta, safety
No. 27: Julian Love, cornerback
No. 26: Ashton White, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)
No. 24: Nick Coleman, safety
No. 23: Drue Tranquill, rover
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, rover
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, safety
No. 19: Justin Yoon, kicker
No. 18: Troy Pride, cornerback
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, safety
No. 16: Cameron Smith, receiver
No. 15: C.J. Holmes, running back
No. 14: Devin Studstill, safety
No. 13: Avery Davis, quarterback
No. 13: Jordan Genmark Heath, safety

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 13 Jordan Genmark Heath, safety

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Freshman with four years of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season.
Depth chart: Due to Isaiah Robertson’s early enrollment and largely-productive spring practices, Genmark Heath joins the safety ranks as the fifth option at a crowded position group. He should get a chance to join the rotation, but will have to show quick progress in order to see defensive action against Temple in 46 days.
Recruiting: Genmark Heath was a late target-and-flip for Notre Dame, de-committing from Cal, following the turnover among Irish assistant coaches. Both defensive coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea had Genmark Heath on their radar while they were at Wake Forest last year. When they joined Brian Kelly’s staff, they reenergized their recruiting efforts of the consensus three-star prospect. Genmark Heath also held offers from the likes of Vanderbilt, Oregon State and Utah.

QUOTE(S)
Genmark Heath’s late addition to the Notre Dame recruiting class was vital. When he sent in his signed letter of intent, he was the only defensive back committing to the class — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah joined later that afternoon, as well. In some respects, Kelly knew how critical landing the safety/athlete was.

“When you talk about the back end of our defense, last year we played a lot of young players and got some really good experience across the board at corner and safety,” Kelly said. “We felt pretty good about it. We wanted to add some guys in particular that would fit the scheme.

“The one guy that jumps off the page for us immediately is Jordan Genmark Heath … This is a product of Mike Elko and his ability to stick with a recruit that he had seen earlier. Both [Elko and Lea] knew about Jordan, and we were able to get him up here in a short period of time on a visit. …

“You can make the case he could play on either side of the ball. We were really looking for that safety that had the skills that would really fit in nicely to the defense that we’re going to employ. I just think he was a real nice fit.”

WHAT WE SAID WHEN GENMARK HEATH’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
The biggest shortcoming of this recruiting class is in the secondary. With defensive back Russ Yeast announcing today he would stay true to his Louisville commitment, Genmark Heath is the only defensive back in the class. (There is yet a chance with safety Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but he is not due to announce his decision until this afternoon.) Even Genmark Heath only flipped to Notre Dame toward the end of the cycle, de-committing from Cal in the process.

“Fortunately, his frame packs a wallop upon contact, and all reviews from his high school coaches involve praise of his understanding of the game as a whole. Both of those, obviously, are vital to strong safety play. So he may be the only defensive back in the class, [but] he should fill the role nicely.”

2017 OUTLOOK
A strong fall camp would quickly vault Genmark Heath into the safety rotation discussion. That is an inevitable possibility given the current unproven nature of the position group.

Whether or not he makes that leap, Genmark Heath could be called upon on special teams. The Irish need contributors there, both on return and coverage units. Genmark Heath may already be physical enough to fill those roles and make special teams coordinator Brian Polian’s life a bit easier.

DOWN THE ROAD
While the safety position is inexperienced, it does not lack for young possibilities. Junior Nick Coleman has only two years of eligibility remaining, but after him come three players with three seasons to go (sophomores Devin Studstill and Jalen Elliott and Navy transfer sophomore Alohi Gilman) and two freshmen with four remaining in Genmark Heath and Robertson. The freshmen duo could find Gilman on their timeline after this season if the NCAA insists he spend a 2017 on the sidelines following his transfer. As of today, Genmark Heath trails all those names.

With that in mind, and acknowledging his 6-foot-2 frame, it is not a reach to foresee Genmark Heath perhaps joining Owusu-Koramoah at rover down the line. Senior Drue Tranquill leads the way there now, but following the 2018 season, only current-junior Asmar Bilal would theoretically be ahead of this year’s additions. If his body fills out as one would expect with time spent in a collegiate strength program, Genmark Heath could become Elko’s ideal of a downhill run-stopper who can provide coverage skills when necessary.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
No. 29: Kevin Stepherson, receiver
No. 28: Nicco Fertitta, safety
No. 27: Julian Love, cornerback
No. 26: Ashton White, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)
No. 24: Nick Coleman, safety
No. 23: Drue Tranquill, rover
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, rover
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, safety
No. 19: Justin Yoon, kicker
No. 18: Troy Pride, cornerback
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, safety
No. 16: Cameron Smith, receiver
No. 15: C.J. Holmes, running back
No. 14: Devin Studstill, safety
No. 13: Avery Davis, quarterback

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 13 Avery Davis, quarterback

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Listed Measurements: 5-foot-11, 185 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Freshman with four years of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season.
Depth chart: Davis joins Notre Dame as the fourth quarterback behind junior Brandon Wimbush, sophomore Ian Book and senior Montgomery VanGorder. While Irish coach Brian Kelly once had to turn to his fifth-string quarterback when at Cincinnati, the ability to reach that far down the depth chart in times of need is not one Kelly would be eager to display again.
Recruiting: Davis filled the annual spot for a quarterback in each Irish recruiting class with a commitment back in March, more than 10 months before National Signing Day. A rivals.com three-star prospect, Davis chose Notre Dame over a number of Texas-based schools such as Baylor, Texas Tech and Houston. The Under Armour All-American also received offers from a smattering of Power Five-conference schools across the country, including Colorado, Purdue, Utah and Virginia. Rivals rated him the No. 19 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 80 prospect in Texas.

QUOTE(S)
As much as Kelly has long preferred quarterbacks who could run well enough to complement their abilities to throw, he espoused another of Davis’ virtues when discussing the quarterback on National Signing Day.

“What we love about Avery is that he’s played for championships,” Kelly said. ‘That’s what Cedar Hill [High School; Cedar Hill, Texas] does at the highest level. So he has that pedigree, he’s used to playing in big games. He doesn’t shy away from competition. He plays his best in the biggest of games. This year against DeSoto he was outstanding in a shootout against the eventual state champ.

“Love his pedigree, love the fact that he played in big games and he was always at his best when his best was needed. He’ll come in and obviously be counted on in our rotation immediately. An extremely athletic quarterback that can come in and do some things right away for us.”

WHAT WE SAID WHEN DAVIS’ NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
In theory, Davis could easily pick up where presumed-2017 starter Brandon Wimbush leaves off. Davis has both a strong arm and agile feet, allowing him to improvise seemingly at will. If Irish coach Brian Kelly and new offensive coordinator Chip Long do indeed speed up the pace of the offense as Kelly insisted was the plan this week, Davis may be an ideal fit to press the gas pedal in the future.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Barring multiple injuries to Notre Dame quarterbacks, there is absolutely no reason for Davis not to preserve a year of eligibility this fall. He can spend the time adjusting to a collegiate workload, adding a bit of heft and getting in plenty of reps while leading the Irish scout team.

DOWN THE ROAD
Much of Davis’ future will hinge on Wimbush’s success. If Wimbush were to have a transcendent season, perhaps Davis and Book are suddenly competing for the right to start 2018’s season-opener after Wimbush heads to the NFL. If Wimbush’s rise is more gradual, that position battle may be put off a year, at which point current 2018 commit Phil Jurkovec could join the fray having spent his nearly-requisite year preserving eligibility. Maybe Wimbush does not yet trust his pro potential at that point, returns for a fifth year and suddenly Book is down to one year of eligibility and gets first crack at the starting job in 2020 with Davis breathing down his neck.

Prior to this past spring, it would have made some sense to think Davis could quickly jump Book once ready for action, but the latter performed ably in the spring practice, cementing himself as Wimbush’s backup over VanGorder.

These uncertainties are, in their own right, certain when discussing a position where only one player is expected to play per season. Obviously — as much of Notre Dame’s recent past illustrates — injuries do occur, but they are never presumed, making the pecking order at quarterback even more important than it is at any other position.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
No. 29: Kevin Stepherson, receiver
No. 28: Nicco Fertitta, safety
No. 27: Julian Love, cornerback
No. 26: Ashton White, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)
No. 24: Nick Coleman, safety
No. 23: Drue Tranquill, rover
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, rover
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, safety
No. 19: Justin Yoon, kicker
No. 18: Troy Pride, cornerback
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, safety
No. 16: Cameron Smith, receiver
No. 15: C.J. Holmes, running back
No. 14: Devin Studstill, safety

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 14 Devin Studstill, safety

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot, 198 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season.
Depth chart: During the offseason, Studstill seems to have slipped behind classmate Jalen Elliott and junior converted-cornerback Nick Coleman in the competition for starting safety honors. Irish coach Brian Kelly often lumped Studstill and Elliott together in discussing the position, but that may have been as much about efficient brevity when discussing two sophomores as it was about them competing for playing time. Studstill is just as likely, if not more, to back up Coleman at field safety rather than solely support Elliott at boundary safety.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect, Studstill enrolled early after choosing Notre Dame from a lengthy list of scholarship offers highlighted by Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

CAREER TO DATE
Studstill earned his first career start in only the second week of his freshman season, the first of his nine starts last season. Studstill’s chances at starting increased drastically with the dismissal of Max Redfield, but he was already challenging the senior for playing time, if not the starting nod, before the end of Redfield’s Irish career. Studstill finished the season 10th among the defensive tackle leaders. Six of that top 10, including Studstill, return this season.

2016: 12 games, nine starts, 38 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, one forced fumble.

QUOTE(S)
Some of Kelly’s lumping together Studstill and Elliott derived from them both being developing young players learning a new defensive scheme.

“Jalen Elliott and Devin Studstill are still in that programming mode in terms of doing all the little things right for us,” he said in early April. “Fundamentally, they’re getting better. I know [defensive coordinator] Mike Elko really likes those two kids, likes their toughness and their want to play the game. They’re going to be there for us.”

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
It should be noted Keith wrote this A-to-Z entry shortly before Redfield’s arrest and subsequent dismissal.

“Redfield may be the starter, but Notre Dame is going to need another safety who can play in the open field. And Studstill seems to have earned enough trust to get the staff to believe he’s the guy — though they don’t exactly have a ton of options.

“With depth not making a redshirt logical, getting Studstill experience on special teams is a good start. And then he’ll likely be the next guy in behind Redfield, who has done a nice job of convincing the staff he’s ready to play consistent football, but has yet to show that he can actually do it.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Studstill’s freshman season was an encouraging one, which makes Elliott’s surpassing him this spring all the more impressive. The same goes for Coleman, but neither means Studstill will not be needed this fall. In many respects, a safety rotation could prove most productive.

Kelly alluded to that concept a few times in the spring, specifically acknowledging down-and-distance situational needs. Passing-specific instances may draw sophomore Julian Love from cornerback, but they could also lead to Studstill joining Coleman on the field, spelling Elliott.

One way or another, Studstill will see plenty of action this season. Exactly when and where will hinge on how the theoretical safety rotation aligns itself next month.

DOWN THE ROAD
There is a distinct temptation to simply copy-and-paste the “Down the Road” portion of Elliott’s 99-to-2 entry into this same spot. The summary of it: When discussing an inexperienced and shallow group of safeties, do not forget to include mention of Navy transfer sophomore Alohi Gilman. Whether or not he is declared eligible in 2017, he will factor heavily into the safety conversation in 2018.

Suddenly, the inexperienced and shallow group of safeties could be navigating a logjam of young players tested early in their careers. At that point, the performances in those games — plus Gilman’s time in Annapolis — will determine the depth chart more than dazzling in practices will. Studstill’s competence in his chances in 2017 will greatly impact his opportunities down the line.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
No. 29: Kevin Stepherson, receiver
No. 28: Nicco Fertitta, safety
No. 27: Julian Love, cornerback
No. 26: Ashton White, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)
No. 24: Nick Coleman, safety
No. 23: Drue Tranquill, rover
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, rover
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, safety
No. 19: Justin Yoon, kicker
No. 18: Troy Pride, cornerback
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, safety
No. 16: Cameron Smith, receiver
No. 15: C.J. Holmes, running back

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 15 C.J. Holmes, running back

Rivals.com
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Listed Measurements: 6-foot, 206 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Early-enrolled freshman with four years of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season.
Depth chart: Holmes sits behind four other running backs and is unlikely to climb that ladder much in 2017.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect, Holmes committed to Notre Dame in July of 2016 rather than accept offers from some of the biggest programs in the country such as Alabama, Michigan, Tennessee and UCLA. Rivals.com rated Holmes the No. 5 all-purpose back in the class, the No. 2 prospect in Connecticut and the No. 203 player in the country.

QUOTE(S)
Holmes separated his shoulder early enough in spring practice Irish coach Brian Kelly never had the chance to expound on the complimentary comparisons he heaped upon Holmes on National Signing Day.

“Versatility I think is what comes to mind,” Kelly said in February. “I look at him as a guy like a Theo Riddick, C.J. Prosise. He’s going to play both running back and wide receiver for us. We think we have a nice package for him right away. We’re going to ask him to compete right away. He’s going to be one of those guys that we’re going to force feed him a little bit and get him involved.

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD SAID UPON HOLMES’ EARLY ENROLLMENT
Holmes will step in and challenge a talented group of runners, but at a position group that was stuck in neutral in 2016. He also has the ability to play receiver.”

2017 OUTLOOK
It was always going to be unlikely Holmes would see many, if any, carries at running back this season. Junior Josh Adams will see the majority of the action with junior Dexter Williams and sophomore Tony Jones earning many chances to spell Adams. Once Holmes departed spring practice with the shoulder injury, sophomore Deon McIntosh moved from receiver to running back to provide depth, and he will likely remain there in the fall.

Perhaps due to the aforementioned versatility, Holmes would have had chances to impress on special teams. Now, though, with the shoulder injury, allowing the freshman the entire season to heal seems the most likely course of action and, for that matter, the most logical. He is not needed at running back in the immediate future, and it seems rather foolish to force him to take hits on the shoulder earlier than necessary just so there is one more body on the coverage units.

It should be noted, Kelly said Holmes had surgery on the same injured shoulder his sophomore year of high school. A separated shoulder may seem a ho-hum injury, but it is far from it, especially once it qualifies as a recurring trouble.

DOWN THE ROAD
In a year, Adams and Williams will still be around, and Adams will presumably continue to lead the Notre Dame ground attack. Entering 2019, however, Jones will be primed to take over the workhorse duties. Holmes offers an ideal complement to Jones’ bruising-yet-agile style, and could fit even better when considering his ability to come out of the backfield as a receiver.

This fall will provide better insights into this aspect, but Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long has often involved tight ends and running backs in his passing attack, creating a role there for Holmes to establish himself in 2018 while readying for 2019.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 92)
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 95)
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92: Jonathon MacCollister; defensive end (originally theorized as No. 46)
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver (originally theorized as No. 84)
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end (originally theorized as No. 90)
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman (originally theorized as No. 65)
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 73)
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
No. 56: Quenton Nelson, left guard
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner, defensive lineman
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Sam Mustipher, center
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, defensive lineman
No. 48: Greer Martini, inside linebacker
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, linebacker/defensive lineman
No. 42: Julian Okwara, defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle (originally theorized as No. 94)
No. 40: Drew White, linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, kicker (originally theorized as No. 52)
No. 38: Deon McIntosh, running back/receiver
No. 35: David Adams, linebacker
No. 34: Tony Jones, Jr., running back
No. 33: Josh Adams, running back
No. 32: D.J. Morgan, safety
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, rover
No. 29: Kevin Stepherson, receiver
No. 28: Nicco Fertitta, safety
No. 27: Julian Love, cornerback
No. 26: Ashton White, safety
No. 25: Jafar Armstrong, receiver (originally theorized as No. 87)
No. 24: Nick Coleman, safety
No. 23: Drue Tranquill, rover
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, rover
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, safety
No. 19: Justin Yoon, kicker
No. 18: Troy Pride, cornerback
No. 17: Isaiah Robertson, safety
No. 16: Cameron Smith, receiver

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship