In soon-to-be-freshman Asmar Bilal, Notre Dame landed a linebacker who looks like he should be playing in the SEC. A star player out of Indianapolis power house and state champion Ben Davis, Bilal is the type of lightning quick and athletic linebacker that may not weigh 235 pounds, but he’ll cover sideline to sideline and beat opponents off the edge.
As part of an exciting linebacker corps, Bilal joins fellow Hoosier Josh Barajas and early-enrollee Te’von Coney as potential impact players. He’ll need to find a position and hit the weight room, but there’s plenty to like about Bilal.
Let’s dig a little deeper as we look at the incoming freshman.
6’3″ 210 lbs.
Freshman, No. 27, LB
A four-star recruit, Bilal made a difficult decision in choosing Notre Dame over Michigan. He had offers from Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee and a dozen other programs, too.
Bilal was an Army All-American, second-team on the MaxPreps All-American team and was Indiana’s defensive player of the year on the American Family Insurance All-USA team.
Right now, Bilal screams upside potential. In Ben Davis’ state championship victory, Bilal shifted to free safety, serving as a tackling machine in their runaway victory over Carmel.
That move will likely necessitate a look at Bilal at a variety of positions, especially if he’s capable of running like a defensive back. While he might join the group of recruits who end up shrinking a few inches once they hit the official program, if Bilal is 6’2 even, he’ll have the type of length that could play really well on the edge—though there’s also some who believe he’s a prototype middle linebacker as well.
It’s hard to say you know what a player brings to the table when you’ve only seen his YouTube highlights. But there’s reason that Bilal has many thinking he’s the real deal and the top player out of Indianapolis, and the Irish have a great starting point with him.
At the very least, I see Bilal wreaking some havoc on special teams. But if there’s an opening on the field with this defense, it’s at safety. Perhaps Bilal could serve as a situational defensive back, the type of in-the-box plugger that Drue Tranquill excelled at in 2014.
The reality of the situation is a year of learning and gaining weight for Bilal. With Joe Schmidt and Jarrett Grace departing after this season, and Jaylon Smith having quite a choice on his hands as well, the depth chart could turn over after this season—turning next spring into maybe an even more critical time than this fall in Bilal’s development.