Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 4 | LB Asmar Bilal

August 1, 2019
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We are looking at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 9 | S Jalen Elliott

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 8 | LB Jordan Genmark Heath

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 7 | DL Jayson & Justin Ademilola

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 6 | WR Javon McKinley

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 5 | WR Michael Young Jr.

Intrigue, curiosity...you could have many words to describe the question marks surrounding senior linebacker Asmar Bilal as Notre Dame is set to begin fall camp on Sunday morning. 

1. No, the 6-foot-2, 227-pounder isn’t a bad football player. In fact, I would say Bilal is in the above-average to good category. The Indianapolis native has recorded 95 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble over his three years on the field for the Irish. 

Not bad, but not great. 

2. Notre Dame needs Asmar Bilal to move into the good to really (or great) category this season. Why? Well, Bilal is in the battle to replace Te’von Coney, who racked up 239 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, seven sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery over the his last two seasons for Notre Dame. 

Does Bilal need to record 123 tackles as Coney did in 2018? No, but Bilal needs to become more aggressive and assertive at the Mike spot to earn the starting job. Now, Bilal had his moments last year as he recorded 50 tackles, so there were glimpses of the super-athletic linebacker. However, Bilal needs to find that extra gear to hold off Shayne Simon and Drew White if he wants to find himself starting against Louisville. 

3. In·trigu·ing: Arousing one's curiosity or interest; fascinating.

That’s the definition of intriguing. Is Bilal intriguing? Maybe there is a better word, but for me, it’s clear the athletic ability is there for him. Bilal has yet to find the mental state to turn it loose and cause havoc on offenses. Is that going to come this year after gaining confidence last season with a position switch to the interior of the defense? 

That’s the question defensive coordinator Clark Lea will have to answer in the month of August. Bilal is by far the most experienced linebacker on the roster and that has to count for something as he’s been in tough environments and knows what it takes to play at a playoff level. 

4. If Bilal can play like this, Notre Dame will be in good shape at linebacker. 

However, if Bilal has lapses, I’m not sure his final season in college football will go the way he wants. Everything is there, but as one source told me this summer, “Bilal needs to find his dog. Notre Dame needs him to have a dog mentality.”  

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