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    Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 9 Daelin Hayes, defensive end

    Associated Press
    4 Comments

    Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3 ¾, 264 pounds
    2018-19 year, eligibility: Junior with two seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2018.
    Depth chart: Hayes will start as the drop end just as he did last, with classmate Julian Okwara providing able backup.
    Recruiting: Rivals.com rated Hayes as a five-star prospect, the only such recruit to choose Notre Dame in the last four cycles. The U.S. Army All-American bypassed offers from the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. The No. 7 outside linebacker in the country, per rivals.com, and the No. 31 player overall, Hayes enrolled early.

    CAREER TO DATE
    Hayes is on pace to play every game of his Irish career. Coming out of high school, multiple shoulder injuries gave reason to wonder about his durability, but 12 starts amid appearances in 25 games have largely eliminated those concerns.

    2016: 12 games; 11 tackles, one forced fumble.
    2017: 13 games, 12 starts; 30 tackles including 6.5 for loss and three sacks, along with one pass breakup and two fumbles recovered.

    Hayes did not start against Navy last season — senior Andrew Trumbetti took his place — a common disclaimer with upperclassmen sparked by the triple-option offense. Hayes’ season highlight came in the blowout victory against USC, notching five solo tackles and one sack.

    QUOTE(S)
    Across Notre Dame’s final five games last season, Hayes managed only six tackles. Irish head coach Brian Kelly attributed that to inexperience showing itself with time.

    “The only thing [Hayes is] missing, really, is continued confidence in the position in which he plays,” Kelly said during spring practice. “Not in himself, he’s an extremely confident young man and carries himself as such.

    “The position he plays was new to him. The nuances of that position maybe got him a little tentative as the year went on. His knowledge base is so much better this year of understanding his position and how it relates to the 11 players.”

    More practice and game reps will only aid that cause, just like more time on campus furthers any player’s development.

    “He’s physical, and he’s playing the kind of football that we expect him to play next year right now,” Kelly said.

    WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
    “In 2010, [former Notre Dame defensive end] Prince Shembo recorded 15 tackles, with five for loss including 4.5 sacks and forced one fumble (as a freshman). Hayes essentially matched those gross numbers (in 2016), the tackles just did not come behind the line of scrimmage.

    “Obviously, that is a big difference, and one Notre Dame will be desperate to see change in 2017. Hayes represents [former Irish] defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s best chance at a true pass rush. He is, perhaps, Elko’s only chance at a true pass rush.

    “Continuing to use Shembo’s on-field career arc as a template, he started eight games in 2011, saw action in 12 games and recorded 31 tackles. His numbers behind the line of scrimmage dipped — illustrating how much those may hinge on constant variables — to 3.5 tackles for loss with two sacks.

    “Hayes should start 13 games this season, and in doing so easily notch 30-plus tackles. His raw speed alone could get him close to that number. Elko, defensive line coach Mike Elston and Kelly will all very much hope for more than two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. If healthy, Hayes should exceed those numbers, and after a healthy freshman season, there is no longer reason to readily presume injury.”

    2018 OUTLOOK
    At some point, potential must become performance lest it be seen as unfulfilled. Hayes is not at that point yet, but if he does not flash this season, it may indicate his ceiling is lower than always perceived. While that may sound extreme, keep in mind it came with a rather strong if.

    Hayes improved drastically between his first two seasons, as most-evidenced by his 30 tackles and 6.5 for loss. (While on that topic, let’s give some kudos to nailing Hayes’ 2017 projected stats. Pure skill, obviously, no chance whatsoever.) His snap count this season will only increase without Trumbetti siphoning off a handful of plays a game, even if Okwara is ready to handle more. An increased snap count and more effectiveness should boost Hayes’ figures closer to 40 tackles with at least six for loss once again.

    A dozen or so more tackles this year (meaning in the low 40s) would likely point to Hayes finishing the season stronger than he did last. That is one aspect of the sought improvement. The other will come in the simplest measurement of any defensive end: sacks.

    From a defensive coordinator’s point of view, a sack not only pushes the opponent backward, it also takes away the opportunity of a play. If Hayes provides that twofold effect twice as often this season as last, he will be in line with the coaching staff’s hopes for him tracing back to his recruitment. More than that and Hayes will become a focal point of opposing offensive coordinators, helping the defensive line as a whole.

    DOWN THE ROAD
    It would take quite the jump this season for Hayes to ponder the NFL in the spring. Thus, expect him to start next season, making him a three-year starter for the Irish. That alone will send Hayes to the next level; how high he is drafted will hinge on what Hayes offers in 2019.

    Guessing at those outcomes would be more conjecture than usual without seeing how Hayes fares this season first. Ideally for Notre Dame, he becomes an all-around end and Okwara shows elite pass-rush abilities. That combination would allow defensive coordinator Clark Lea a litany of possibilities in preparing for his second year.

    NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
    No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
    No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
    No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
    No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
    No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
    No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
    No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
    No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
    No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
    No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
    No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
    No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
    No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
    No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
    No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
    No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
    No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
    No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
    No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
    No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
    No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
    No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
    No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
    No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
    No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
    No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
    No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
    No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
    No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
    No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker, senior
    No. 19 Justin Ademilola, defensive end, incoming freshman
    No. 18 Joe Wilkins, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 17 Isaiah Robertson, safety-turned-rover, sophomore
    No. 16 Noah Boykin, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 15 D.J. Morgan, safety-turned-linebacker, junior
    No. 15 Phil Jurkovec, quarterback, consensus four-star incoming freshman
    No. 14 Devin Studstill, safety, junior
    No. 13 Lawrence Keys, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 13 Paul Moala, local safety, incoming freshman
    No. 12 DJ Brown, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 12 Ian Book, quarterback, junior
    No. 11 Alohi Gilman, safety, Navy transfer
    No. 10 Tariq Bracy, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 10 Chris Finke, receiver, senior, former walk-on

    MEDICAL EXEMPTION
    No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore

    OUTGOING TRANSFER
    No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer

    Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 10 Chris Finke, receiver, punt returner

    Associated Press
    6 Comments

    Listed Measurements: 5-foot-9 ½, 179 pounds
    2018-19 year, eligibility: Senior with two seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2018.
    Depth chart: Finke is in the mix to contribute in the passing game from the outset this year, competing with sophomore Michael Young to complement the size of junior Chase Claypool and senior Miles Boykin. Of the entire receiving corps, only those four bring any experience whatsoever.
    Recruiting: A preferred walk-on to start his career, Finke earned a scholarship heading into his sophomore season.

    CAREER TO DATE
    Finke’s junior year mirrored his sophomore year’s receiving stats, a disappointing byproduct of the Notre Dame passing game struggling throughout 2017. His greatest impact came in the early September loss to Georgia, pulling in three receptions for 36 yards, all coming in the fourth quarter of the 20-19 defeat, as did all five of his targets. He had no more than one grab in any other game.

    2016: 10 games; 10 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
    2017: 13 games, one start; six catches for 102 yards.

    Finke has also served as the primary punt returner most of the last two seasons, with a seeming-allergy to fair catches in obvious situations.

    2016: Nine punt returns for 70 yards; five kick returns for 85 yards.
    2017: 24 punt returns for 156 yards.

    QUOTE(S)
    Finke is many things: relatively sure-handed, outright quick, shifty to the point of it being a cliché. He is also mistake-free to such a degree it earns notice.

    “Chris had the least amount of [missed assignments],” Irish receivers coach Del Alexander said in late March. “At this point in the game, Finke knows everything. I can move Finke anywhere, I can beat Finke up, I can get him in front of blockers.”

    Those are all compliments, but there is still plenty of work to be done to improve Finke’s game.

    “We’re doing so many little things with Finke that help him have a knack for the game outside of the playbook,” Alexander said. “… Because he understands exactly what we want, he knows the playbook, but at the same time, we’re talking about leverage, we’re talking about using his height to an advantage, using his quickness, timing on break and anticipation of people around him.

    “We’re doing some things that help you play for a long time.”

    WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
    “Finke will almost certainly exceed last year’s numbers, but the question will be when and where. Notre Dame is not wanting at receiver, and that assuredness is not even factoring in the number of skilled tight ends available, as well. Finding a role in the rotation for all those capable, including Finke, will be a unique balancing act.

    “… Nothing in spring indicated Finke had yielded that second-half momentum surge. With it, he should be ready to contribute at either the slot or the field receiver position whenever Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long wants to downsize his target.”

    2018 OUTLOOK
    Finke’s consistency and unique playmaking ability puts him in position to contribute for Notre Dame, no matter how diminutive his frame may be. The presumed emergence of Young, though, will likely limit the opportunities. Some situations may call for multiple 5-foot-10, sub-200-pound receivers, but those moments are few and far between, especially when the offensive coordinator prefers targets with size and has the luxury of two upperclassmen receivers taller than 6-foot-4 and a trio of pass-catching tight ends even taller.

    Finke will still see a non-negligible amount of playing time; it is just hard to project him as one of senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s primary targets, odd considering how much Wimbush relied on Finke in trying to mount a comeback against the Bulldogs.

    As for punt returns, Finke’s desire to make a play has put his role there in jeopardy in the past. Recklessly hauling in punts inside the 10-yard-line is a surefire way to aggravate any coach. If Irish head coach Brian Kelly and special teams coordinator Brian Polian have drilled rules into Finke’s head by now, then the job should remain his. He has shown the needed flashes to shift field position, most-recently in the third quarter at Stanford when he returned a punt 41 yards to set up a lead-taking field goal, also known as Notre Dame’s last points of the regular-season finale. Finke returned the Cardinal’s next punt 20 yards to position the Irish for a last-ditch effort, which stalled.

    If, however, Finke continues to take unnecessary risks unfit a senior, then a change will need to be made to preserve future possessions.

    DOWN THE ROAD
    Finke will be an interesting case for roster construction discussion following the season. Including sophomore receiver/running back Jafar Armstrong, the Irish currently have 10 players at the position, all with 2019 eligibility available. If Boykin, Claypool and Young separate as a leading trio and any or all of the freshmen quartet impress, then Finke could be the fifth or sixth option as a fifth-year.

    In such an instance, the coaching staff may opt to devote that scholarship to a player in the class of 2019, a grouping which could be tight for space as is.

    Of course, if Finke catches 25 passes this season for 300 yards and a couple scores, that conversation would shift entirely.

    NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
    No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
    No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
    No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
    No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
    No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
    No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
    No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
    No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
    No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
    No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
    No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
    No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
    No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
    No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
    No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
    No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
    No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
    No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
    No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
    No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
    No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
    No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
    No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
    No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
    No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
    No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
    No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
    No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
    No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
    No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker, senior
    No. 19 Justin Ademilola, defensive end, incoming freshman
    No. 18 Joe Wilkins, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 17 Isaiah Robertson, safety-turned-rover, sophomore
    No. 16 Noah Boykin, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 15 D.J. Morgan, safety-turned-linebacker, junior
    No. 15 Phil Jurkovec, quarterback, consensus four-star incoming freshman
    No. 14 Devin Studstill, safety, junior
    No. 13 Lawrence Keys, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 13 Paul Moala, local safety, incoming freshman
    No. 12 DJ Brown, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 12 Ian Book, quarterback, junior
    No. 11 Alohi Gilman, safety, Navy transfer
    No. 10 Tariq Bracy, cornerback, incoming freshman

    MEDICAL EXEMPTION
    No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore

    OUTGOING TRANSFER
    No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer

    Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 10 Tariq Bracy, cornerback, incoming freshman

    rivals.com
    2 Comments

    Listed Measurements: 6-foot, 170 pounds
    2018-19 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, including the 2018 season.
    Depth chart: Bracy should be little more than a reserve cornerback this season, barring injury to any of the upperclassmen in the two-deep.
    Recruiting: Coming from the west coast, the rivals.com three-star and No. 39 cornerback in the country chose Notre Dame over the likes of Cal, Utah and Washington State.

    QUOTE(S)
    A small town north of San Jose, Calif., Milpitas is not ripe recruiting ground, leading to a quiet recruiting cycle for Bracy. Irish head coach Brian Kelly was glad to be the beneficiary of that calm.

    “Tariq Bracy is a young man that I think if he’s in a metro area, his recruitment probably blows up, but he’s in an area that doesn’t get quite the attention,” Kelly said during December’s early signing period. “… [He] is an outstanding player.”

    That recruitment was a quiet one despite Bracy excelling as a prep running back, kick returner and punt returner in addition to his defensive back skills. Oh, and he caught a bevy of passes, too. In winning the state title game, Bracy scored rushing (70 yards), receiving (35) and returning a punt (60). Those highlight-reel moments caught the eye of cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght.

    “The strength and power area, he’s going to have to do some work, because he’s a little developmental there,” Lyght said in February. “His playmaking skills, his ball skills, his speed, his reactive athleticism are second-to-none in this class.”

    WHAT WAS SAID WHEN BRACY’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
    “The Irish might be alright with cornerbacks at the moment, but it will need them in 2019 or 2020, and without any in the class ahead of him, Bracy’s timeline will be expedited by a season. He’ll be contributing no later than his sophomore year and, given natural development, could be a starter as a junior.”

    2018 OUTLOOK
    Bracy’s experience in the return game adds a wrinkle to his playing possibilities this fall. It is most likely he dabbles in special teams coverages and sees defensive mop-up duties in up to four games, preserving a year of eligibility. There is a chance, however, of Bracy taking over the punt and kickoff return duties, albeit not inherently a great chance.

    The outward transfer of C.J. Sanders opens up the kickoff duties while senior receiver Chris Finke remains the nominal punt returner, a duty he performed serviceably last season but not exceptionally by any means.

    Sanders’ career, although now-truncated, proves Kelly has little qualm about putting a freshman on the goal line to receive kicks. The reserve receiver handled all return duties in 2015, returning both a kick and a punt for scores.

    DOWN THE ROAD
    The cornerbacks depth chart is a unique one to look at. The top four players all have two years of eligibility remaining, while the rest of the position group consists entirely of a freshmen quartet, all obviously with full collegiate careers ahead of them.

    That dichotomy could keep Bracy off the field for a couple years before suddenly inserting him into a starting role. Being a first-time starter as a junior should not be considered a disappointment; it is often a norm. (See junior Troy Pride this season and possibly his classmate Donte Vaughn in a year.)

    That slow pace will actually coincide nicely with Lyght’s hopes of progress in a next-level strength and conditioning program, as long as added muscle and physicality does not come at the expense of Bracy’s natural speed and agility.

    NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
    No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
    No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
    No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
    No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
    No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
    No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
    No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
    No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
    No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
    No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
    No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
    No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
    No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
    No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
    No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
    No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
    No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
    No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
    No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
    No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
    No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
    No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
    No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
    No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
    No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
    No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
    No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
    No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
    No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
    No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker, senior
    No. 19 Justin Ademilola, defensive end, incoming freshman
    No. 18 Joe Wilkins, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 17 Isaiah Robertson, safety-turned-rover, sophomore
    No. 16 Noah Boykin, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 15 D.J. Morgan, safety-turned-linebacker, junior
    No. 15 Phil Jurkovec, quarterback, consensus four-star incoming freshman
    No. 14 Devin Studstill, safety, junior
    No. 13 Lawrence Keys, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 13 Paul Moala, local safety, incoming freshman
    No. 12 DJ Brown, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 12 Ian Book, quarterback, junior
    No. 11 Alohi Gilman, safety, Navy transfer

    MEDICAL EXEMPTION
    No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore

    OUTGOING TRANSFER
    No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer

    Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 11 Alohi Gilman, safety, Navy transfer

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    3 Comments

    Listed Measurements: 5-foot-10 ½, 200 pounds
    2018-19 year, eligibility: After transferring from Navy last offseason, the NCAA denied Gilman’s appeal for a waiver granting immediate eligibility, thus stalling the clock on his playing time for a year. Gilman has three seasons of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2018 season.
    Depth chart: Gilman is in position to be the salve to Notre Dame’s years of safety deficiencies. The transfer is expected to begin the season as the starting field safety, displacing senior Nick Coleman and holding off the impressive debut of early-enrolled freshman Houston Griffith.
    Recruiting: Gilman’s was a low-profile recruitment out of Hawai’i, hence his landing at Navy for a year. At that point, he was hardly on the Irish radar.

    CAREER TO DATE
    Gilman spent last season on the sidelines, though he still made an impression on the Notre Dame coaching staff, being named the top prep team player.

    At Navy, Gilman’s shining moment actually came against the Irish in a 28-27 Midshipmen victory. He made 12 tackles that day. At that point, Notre Dame had to dread facing him three more times in his career.

    2016: 14 games, 12 starts; 76 tackles with five for loss while breaking up five passes, recovering two fumbles, including one he forced and brought to the end zone.

    QUOTE(S)
    The drawbacks of spending a season on the scout team by the NCAA’s decree extend past that fall. Gilman needed to get up to speed on the playbook this spring, something which limited his initial climb up the depth chart.

    “He had a slow start to the spring,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in early April. “… He wasn’t taught the defense last year. He was taught everybody else’s defense because he was on scout team. That kind of put him back a few practices, but now that he knows what he’s doing, he can play fast and play physical. We’re really starting to see that skillset that he showed when he was at Navy.”

    While first-year defensive coordinator Clark Lea also saw that learning curve accelerate through the spring, what he did not need to see progress was Gilman’s leadership tendencies.

    “He’s a guy that in one year has made an impact from a leadership standpoint,” Lea said the week of the Blue-Gold Game. “The guys follow him, they listen to him, they trust him. It’s apparent. He’s consistent, he’s dependable, all the things that you would want.

    “He’s got it as a leader. We want to harness that and let that shine as he goes.”

    WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
    “Kelly praised Gilman as a physical safety. That would seem to put him in the same category as [junior Jalen Elliott], though perhaps with better coverage skills. In that instance, Gilman could fill in for Elliott in intermediate down-and-distance situations, guarding against a pass while also providing strong run support.

    “On more obvious passing downs, perhaps [junior Devin] Studstill comes in, or perhaps Gilman offers strong enough pass coverage he can continue to man the position, even allowing [then-] sophomore Julian Love to stay at cornerback, further strengthening the Notre Dame secondary.

    “The reasons behind Gilman’s transfer should also be acknowledged here. He very clearly has NFL aspirations. That is to be lauded. Just keep it in mind: Once that opportunity presents itself, Gilman will likely take that chance.”

    2018 OUTLOOK
    Last season, the Irish safeties had their hands in a grand total of zero turnovers. The lack of interceptions is well discussed and a greater concern, but Elliott, Studstill and Coleman also failed to force or recover any fumbles. It took Gilman all of two drives in the Blue-Gold Game to showcase that part of his game, halting a big gain from receiver Michael Young by both forcing and recovering a fumble.

    Along with his six tackles in the scrimmage, that strip presumably secured Gilman’s starting role entering 2018. Even with the strong springtime showing from Griffith and the arrival of consensus four-star freshman Derrik Allen, Gilman should start alongside Elliott against Michigan, each bringing a year of starting experience to the gig.

    Further evidence of Gilman’s spot in the pecking order, Coleman’s work at nickelback during the spring hints at Lea trying to find a way to get his best players on the field one way or another. If Gilman supplanted Coleman, then Coleman spending time at nickel would offer a different defensive look in Lea’s inventory.

    To hold off the freshmen duo, Gilman will need to continue finding the ball both in turnover situations and as run fits dictate. Those are the strengths of his game, items sorely lacking from the Notre Dame secondary for a couple seasons.

    Coleman accounted for 44 tackles in 2017, Elliott just one behind him. In this system, the safeties do not rack up exceptional numbers of takedowns. Thus, do not expect Gilman to match his Naval total. His ball skills are more crucial to Lea’s defense, anyway.

    DOWN THE ROAD
    Starting the first day he is able usually indicates years of such a duty. Contrarily, the arrival of two four-stars at a position typically points to a short shelf life for the incumbents. One of those trends will have to yield.

    It may take Griffith and/or Allen a full year or two to be ready to start. That would hardly bode poorly for their careers, but it would pave the way for Gilman to spend multiple years as the Irish starter.

    NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
    No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
    No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
    No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
    No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
    No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
    No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
    No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
    No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
    No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
    No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
    No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
    No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
    No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
    No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
    No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
    No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
    No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
    No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
    No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
    No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
    No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
    No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
    No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
    No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
    No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
    No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
    No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
    No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
    No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
    No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
    No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
    No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
    No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
    No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
    No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
    No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
    No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
    No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
    No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker, senior
    No. 19 Justin Ademilola, defensive end, incoming freshman
    No. 18 Joe Wilkins, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 17 Isaiah Robertson, safety-turned-rover, sophomore
    No. 16 Noah Boykin, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 15 D.J. Morgan, safety-turned-linebacker, junior
    No. 15 Phil Jurkovec, quarterback, consensus four-star incoming freshman
    No. 14 Devin Studstill, safety, junior
    No. 13 Lawrence Keys, receiver, incoming freshman
    No. 13 Paul Moala, local safety, incoming freshman
    No. 12 DJ Brown, cornerback, incoming freshman
    No. 12 Ian Book, quarterback, junior

    MEDICAL EXEMPTION
    No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore

    OUTGOING TRANSFER
    No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer