Story Poster
Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Former Notre Dame Players Discuss 2021 Fighting Irish Roster

March 31, 2021

Notre Dame’s former players are back in South Bend for Wednesday’s Pro Day and they were able to give some thoughts on some of the current Irish players ahead of the 2021 season. 

Yes, the feedback was all positive, but it also provides a small look into the mental and physical makeup of some of the key players on Notre Dame’s roster. 

Tommy Kraemer and Nick McCloud also spoke on why Matt Balis is so successful in his role as Director of Football Performance. 

QB Ian Book on QBs Drew Pyne, Jack Coan and Tyler Buchner: 
"I've talked to all of them now. I was able to go to the first spring practice and I got to see them throw a few times. Honestly, I'm excited for that battle. All of those guys can play. I think they're all excited for the battle and that's the biggest thing. Competition is going to lead to the best thing for Notre Dame and that's the best person playing quarterback, whoever that may be. 

"The first practice looked great. All of them can play and all of them bring something a little different to the offense. I'm just excited for it. I think they're excited to be back in spring ball competing." 

OL Liam Eichenberg on OL Jarrett Patterson:
"I think it will be easy for Jarrett. Football comes natural to him. The first camp as a freshman, he was a left tackle behind me and he was amazing. I think it will be like nothing ever happened. 

"I don't expect there to be a drop-off at all. It will be like I'm still there. It will be like Mike is still there. I think Jarrett will be one of the next greats. 

"He's a great center and I think him moving out to tackle will make people realize he's a better player than most people think." 

OL Robert Hainsey on OL Jarrett Patterson's leadership:
"Having known Jarrett for a couple years and knowing the player and person he is, I doubt have any doubt he's going to be able to do that. Jarrett's a nonsense kind of guy where he's going to do everything he needs to do to get ready. If other guys take notice of the way Jarrett prepares, they're going to be just fine. He has some older guys like Josh Lugg in that room who can help him. Lugg has started plenty of games and knows what it takes. 

"It's not just Jarrett. I think they're going to do a great job bringing those guys along because they know how it's supposed to be done." 

OL Liam Eichenberg on OL Tosh Baker:
"He has a great mindset. He works hard. For him, it's about getting strong in the offseason. He put in a lot of work this winter, so I'm excited to see how he looks. 

"I think he's done well so far. I think it's just strength for him. He moves well, good with his hands and understands the playbook. It's going to be developing his overall strength. When he gets that, I think he'll be a great player for Notre Dame football." 

OL Liam Eichenberg on OL Josh Lugg:
"Josh was our utility man. He stepped in and he could play any position. You could put him at tackle, guard, or center and he would do well. We have four guys coming out this year. He's been behind them and me at times and it's just allowed him to develop even more. This is his opportunity now. He will start on the offensive line this year. There is no doubt about that. 

"I think he's going to do very well. I think he'll be very successful. He's a guy who understands his technique and fundamentals. I'm very excited for him. I'm excited for all the guys in that room, but a guy who stuck it out and would do anything and sacrifice anything for the offensive line is the guy you're getting." 

OL Robert Hainsey on advantages of early enrolling for OL Blake Fisher, Rocco Spindler and Caleb Johnson: 
"The advantage is getting an extra spring ball in. For me, I came in early and I got to do the whole spring ball before we went to fall camp. That's what gave me my opportunity that I had. 

"It's a challenge from what you can expect. It's different than high school. You have to get it together. You have to understand who you are and what's important. It's not you that's important, it's the unit and the team. Some guys don't always know that, but once you kind of get here are able to learn what it's about and adapt to the offensive line culture, you're going to do great things. 

"I got to see a little bit of practice and I'm excited to keep watching spring ball to see how those guys do and help them as much as I can." 

DE Ade Ogundeji on DE Isaiah Foskey:
"Foskey is a guy who could do a lot on the field. He's someone who really improved himself this past season. I expect him to get better and better this season. He's a guy who can do multiple things. I think he can rush the passer and set the edge well. 

"He needs to continue to work on his craft every single day and push himself in the weight room." 

DE Ade Ogundeji on DE Jordan Botelho
"Jordan was a guy who on special teams and someone who dominated on special teams. He needs to continue to be the right person. He just needs to work on being consistent every single day. If he does that, he'll be a great player at Notre Dame." 

DE Ade Ogundeji on Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa playing DE:
"I think he's a guy who has great potential. He can do a lot of things for the defensive line. He can play several different positions. He's played three-tech for the last couple years and now they're moving him to end. I think he can do a lot of different things for a defense.

"He brings a veteran presence to the room. Someone who is a leader, leads by example and does the right things every day. He comes in and puts his head down and works. He's a humble worker. I'm excited to see him next season." 

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah on LB Drew White:
"I expect him to be the best player on the field even with Kyle Hamilton on the field. Drew White is an amazing guy and a true leader. A true vocalist in terms of his play on the field. You can always count on him. He's an accountable guy. He's a genuine guy. That's always somebody you want in the middle of your defense. You want the best player that's kind of vocal and will lead by example. 

"That's exactly what Drew White will bring this year. You guys can be looking for a big year out of him." 

CB Nick McCloud on CB Cam Hart:
"It's going to be a dog fight in the room, but it's going to be a healthy competition. Coach (Mike) Mickens is going to motivate those guys to do well. 

"A guy for me that's on my radar is Cam Hart from him being underneath my wing last year. I'm definitely excited to see what he's going to do, but really everyone. Everyone in the room has talent and Coach Mickens is going to get the best out of everybody. I'm eager to see how they excel this year." 

OL Tommy Kraemer on OL Dillan Gibbons and John Dirksen:
"Those guys are two awesome football players. They're tough, gritty and physical. They can definitely do it. I think the Notre Dame offensive line will be getting two mature players in John and Dillan. Guys that care a lot about the program and improving their craft. I'm excited to see those two guys battle it out this spring. They're going to be two great players." 

CB Nick McCloud on Matt Balis:
"I feel like Coach Dantonio Burnette at NC State and his program was very good. Coming in, it was definitely a transition. As far as the weight room, I feel I made stronger gains a lot faster here. Coach Balis is a great person and a great coach. He's going to push you and do everything to get you where you need to be. I definitely enjoyed my time with Coach Balis." 

OL Tommy Kraemer on Matt Balis:
"I think Coach Balis does the best job of pushing you past your limit. It's human nature to think we all have this certain limit and he just takes it one step further to make you such a better player and such a better man." 

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.