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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Jordan Genmark Heath

September 7, 2020

Jordan Genmark Heath flashed as a safety against the run in the Citrus Bowl against LSU. When he moved to linebacker the following spring, everyone assumed the future would be bright for him.

He was a raw, but exciting athletic talent. His arrow was pointing up.

Unfortunately, his career arc ended up flattening after 2018. After being Drue Tranquill’s backup, he seemed to get passed by Shayne Simon and Jack Lamb in 2019 before both were lost for the season due to injury.

It might be a bit of a surprise that he has decided to transfer. However, it’s not a surprise that he wasn’t in line to win the starting Buck job as we never really saw the physical tools manifest into a complete linebacker.

That needed to start to translate for him in camp and it clearly didn’t or else I wouldn’t be writing this. When you combine that with the players he was competing with at Buck, it’s not hard to see why he is looking for another opportunity to play.

The job was wide open heading into the summer with as many as five candidates vying for the starting job. It’s clear that both Simon and Marist Liufau have separated themselves from the pack.

I wrote this about Liufau when breaking him down as a recruit:

Normally a guy like Liufau ends up at a program like Utah and three years down the line he is ballin’ out in the Pac-12 while people wonder how he slipped through the cracks. Notre Dame did a good job getting in on a guy who probably would have received a lot more attention if he was from a different part of the country.
He’s an aggressive playmaker with good instincts and innate ability as a blitzer/pass rusher. Those things can go a long way if the physical development part of it comes together and he is a late-bloomer in that department. It may take him a couple of years before he gets into the mix for playing time. After that, he has the potential to be a starter and core special teams player.

I don’t doubt that those same things are standing out right now or that he has improved from the player we saw last August, just faster than I expected him to.

We’ll see how things shake out at Buck, but one thing we do know is that JGH will no longer be in the mix. There was always the possibility he could be this year’s Asmar Bilal. He might have been that if not for the talented linebackers he was competing against.

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