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Notre Dame Football

ISD Sweet 16 | Most Important in 2020: No. 2 vs. No. 15

March 29, 2020

It's Sweet 16 week! 

Well, at least for Irish Sports Daily. 

Jamie and Matt came up and seeded the 16 most important players to Notre Dame's 2020 campaign and we're giving ISD members the chance to advance them in a single-elimination tournament. 

Friday’s matchup is No. 2 Kyle Hamilton vs. No. 15 Houston Griffith.

Kyle Hamilton 
2019 Stats
: 41 tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, six passes defended and one touchdown

Why he is the No. 2 seed: Hamilton is perhaps the most gifted athlete on the roster, which carries weight as Notre Dame boasts some freak athletes. Few true freshmen live up to the hype and Hamilton exceeded expectations in 2019 and likely could have had a monster season if the Irish didn’t have two captains starting at safety. 

The Georgia native is vital to Notre Dame’s defensive success as he can play a variety of roles, but also the only proven safety on the roster. Isaiah Pryor, Houston Griffith, DJ Brown and Litchfield Ajavon need to prove they play when the lights get bright. 

Why Hamilton should advance: Hamilton made plays in limited reps last year. He’ll get more snaps in 2020, which could mean huge numbers and that’s exactly what Clark Lea needs.

Houston Griffith
2019 Stats:
 Five tackles and one pass defended

Why he is the No. 15 seed: Griffith was impressive during spring practice in 2018 at safety, which is his natural position. The experiment at nickel and boundary corner didn’t work and now he moves back to the spot he’s the most comfortable. 

In terms of importance, Notre Dame needs someone to play next to Kyle Hamilton and Griffith knows it's now or never. The former four-star prospect has a chance to cement himself as the starter and live up the hype that made him one of the most coveted defensive backs in the 2018 class. 

Isaiah Pryor could have been seeded here, but we feel Griffith is the better player and Pryor needs to prove he can tackle, which is something the Griffith has done in limited reps. 

Why Griffith should advance: If Notre Dame doesn’t find someone to pair with Hamilton, it could get interesting for Clark Lea and Griffith has a chance to be that guy.  

No. 1 vs. No 16: Winner - Ian Book with 62%. 

No. 8 vs. No. 9: Winner - Braden Lenzy 51.4%

No. 4 vs. No. 13: Winner - Liam Eichenberg 87.3%

No. 5 vs. No. 12: Winner - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 69.7%

No. 3 vs. No. 14: Winner - Ade Ogundeji 71.0% 

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