Notre Dame has a star pair of senior safeties and not much else at the position. The latter half of that sentence rings even more true after reports of sophomore Derrik Allen’s intention to transfer.
Blue & Gold Illustrated first reported the transfer.
A former consensus four-star recruit out of Georgia, Allen never saw playing time in 2018. While the Irish leaned on starters Jalen Elliott and Alohi Gilman, there was still a want for some relief at safety. Allen was not trusted enough to provide it.
This spring, sophomore cornerback DJ Brown moved to safety, providing a complete second-string for March and April before freshmen Kyle Hamilton and Litchfield Ajavon arrived to Notre Dame in the summer. Hamilton, in particular, has already established a role ahead of any other backup options.
Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea denied the premise that Allen’s proverbial light had not switched on this spring, insisting player evaluation is not quite so simple.
“When you say, has the light gone on, you’re living in a world where it’s either on or off,” Lea said. “He has benefited a ton from having a lot of reps this spring. There are times where he cut weight, he had to lose some weight, and he met that challenge as spring camp went on.
“As a safety, to make plays, you can’t be thinking about necessarily what your landmark is, what your read is. Those things need to be ingrained so that you can react to the ball in the air. That’s where Derrik needs to take the next step.”
Allen will apparently take that next step elsewhere, despite Notre Dame likely needing two new starting safeties in 2020. Hamilton will presumably be one of them, but now only two other options currently exist for the other, one of which is a converted cornerback as is.
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