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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame All-American Kyle Hamilton A Reluctant Superstar

October 14, 2020

Kyle Hamilton tries to stay away from social media too, just not for the same reason most people do.

Notre Dame’s sophomore All-American safety appreciates all of the positive things being said about him on whatever platforms they’re being said, he just doesn’t really want to hear them.

“That’s good and all, but I try not to get caught up in that,” Hamilton says. “I just try to be myself and keep down the path that I’m going.”

He’s conscious of avoiding distractions.

“All they do is just slow me down,” he says. “If I just stay to myself and follow my orders and do my job, I feel like I’ll be successful.”

He may want to avoid looking directly at his head coach too then.

Brian Kelly didn’t just break into a wide smile when asked about his reluctant superstar safety during a Zoom call with reporters on Monday, he stopped to make sure everybody on the call could see just how wide it was.

“He's a difference-maker,” Kelly went on to say. “He covers ground like no safety I've ever coached. He plays with physicality. He's smart. He's a terrific football player and his presence is felt out there.

“He closes. He's an eraser too. You can put him on somebody and just by his size, he makes it difficult for teams to go into his area, whether it's in the run game or pass game…He makes a huge impact in our defense.”

The Georgia native’s natural physical gifts can often make the game look easier than it’s supposed to look. But he certainly studies it, to the point of taking a notebook from the meeting room to the field for walkthroughs.

“I felt like it would be useful to bring a book out there and take notes on what I’m messing up in the walkthrough, what I’m doing right in the walkthrough, what my coaches are adjusting and stuff like that,” he says matter of factly.

Rick Kimball/ISD

Hamilton was considered the jewel of Notre Dame’s 2019 recruiting class, especially after an eye-popping performance against the nation’s best at The Opening Finals in Dallas the summer before arriving in South Bend.

But for a kid who once thought his athletic future was more likely on the basketball court than the gridiron, it took some time for him to garner the recognition he deserved.

Still, not only was he not offended by being listed as a three-star recruit initially, Hamilton was actually flattered.

“I was excited,” he says. “I’d played football, but hadn’t really been on the recruiting trail or been at camps and stuff like that.

“I didn’t really get caught up in stars and stuff, but I was like, ‘Oh wow, I’m actually on a website.’ It was kind of eye-opening.”

The Atlanta native is trying to keep his head down as much as possible these days even as he continues to open eyes every time he touches the field.

Once he feels he’s got the game plan for the week nailed down, he tries to unplug.

“I just try to leave all of that in a different space in my brain and just focus on being a regular college kid; just hanging with my friends, chilling, playing video games,” he says. “I feel like that keeps me humble, knowing I’m never too big of a deal. At the end of the day, I’m just myself.

“I don’t need to get caught up in accolades or, ‘He’s this’ or ‘He’s that.’ I feel like once I start doing that is when I start falling off. I feel like I’ve just got to be the kid I’ve always been and that will make me my best.”

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