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Notre Dame Football

Projecting the Two-Deep | Notre Dame Defense

July 3, 2020

One thing you may notice about the projected two-deep for the defense is that “OR” is used quite a bit. That’s because there is going to be a lot of competition to make the two-deep at several spots and they didn’t have a spring to sort it out.

There are other players not listed here who could be in two-deep in September and that speaks more to the depth of talented athletes that Notre Dame has developed than anything else. That depth is a major reason why the defense is going to be very good again whenever they decide to play football this season.

As a reminder, these are projections for the beginning of camp and not for the beginning of the season. Things can change quite a bit in a short amount of time, but this is based off of what I have seen from last season and I’ve added notes for context.

Vyper: Daelin Hayes, Ovie Oghoufo OR Isaiah Foskey

Hayes is a likely captain and has already established himself.

Oghoufo had more opportunities than expected last year because of injuries and should be in a position to break into the rotation. The big question is whether or not Foskey stays at Vyper or moves to the strong side. If he sticks, then it’s more likely a split here for the next reps.

If Foskey moves permanently to the other end, it opens up an opportunity for true freshman Jordan Botelho to make some noise.

Nose tackle: Kurt Hinish, Jacob Lacey Hinish proved to be dependable last year and he’s a great example for the younger players. It’s hard to see Lacey supplanting him because of that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is more 1A and 1B by the time we reach the first game.

3-technique: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa OR Jayson Ademilola

Ademilola was pushing to take over this spot at the end of last year so it should be considered a toss-up heading into this season. Both of them are deserving of playing important snaps and I could see this ending up as a 1A and 1B situation similar to nose tackle.

This could end up being a three-headed monster if Howard Cross continues to develop the flashes he showed in 2019.

Defensive end: Ade Ogundeji, Justin Ademilola OR Isaiah Foskey

Ogundeji was ready to start last year. He just had the misfortune of having Khalid Kareem in front of him.

The second team will be interesting to watch because Ademilola is someone who is poised to join the rotation, but could have competition if Foskey moves here. Unless NaNa Osafo-Mensah makes a significant leap with his play, I don’t see any other candidates making a push for playing time this season.

Rover: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Paul Moala

This is about as cut and dry as it gets. Owusu-Koramoah is a star and Moala is a very good backup. Even if they move someone over to Rover permanently, I don’t envision them pushing to be in the two-deep given who is in front of them.

Mike: Drew White, Bo Bauer OR JD Bertrand OR Osita Ekwonu

White is going to be the starter unless someone else wins the job away from him. I think that’s unlikely if White is better than he was in 2019.

I do think that his primary backup is not something that is going to be set in stone. Bauer has to hold off the young players behind him and it may be that someone like Shayne Simon or Jack Lamb end up being the unofficial next man in.

Buck: Shayne Simon OR Jack Lamb OR Jordan Genmark Heath

This has to be the most wide open spot on the defense. Even though I didn’t list Jack Kiser or Marist Liufau, I could see either of them ending up in the two-deep at some point this season. To start camp, though, these three are the ones I expect to get the first opportunity to win the job.

If it breaks down like it did last season, then it should be Simon with the ones with Lamb as the one who replaces him in sub-packages. Genmark-Heath needs to have a great summer to stay in the mix.

Boundary CB: TaRiq Bracy, Nick McCloud OR Cam Hart

I only put Bracy as the starter on the boundary because they had him there for practice one in the spring. He is a more realistic player at field corner and think he’ll eventually move back there, but I don’t see them handing the job to McCloud. Anyone transferring in will have to earn it first.

Hart is going to be competing here and KJ Wallace might be as well.

Safety: Kyle Hamilton, DJ Brown

No comments necessary here.

Safety: Houston Griffith, Isaiah Pryor

Griffith was with the ones at the start of spring and should be at the start of practices this summer.

Like McCloud, Pryor has to come in and earn his spot. We’ll see if he can turn this into an “OR” situation for when the Irish play Navy.

Field CB: Shaun Crawford, Isaiah Rutherford OR KJ Wallace

Crawford won a starting job at corner last year out of camp and he’s the veteran. He’s going to be with the ones here. If he’s not starting at the end of camp and it’s Rutherford, Wallace, or Bracy, that’s a good sign for the position because Notre Dame knows what they have in Crawford.

If he’s not with the ones playing field corner at the end of camp, it may be because they need help at safety.

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