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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Roster Review | Cornerback

February 14, 2024
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Notre Dame had one of the best cornerback rooms in the country last season. That should be the case again in 2024 and the depth at the position is equally impressive.

The Irish are in great shape at cornerback and it’s the backbone of their defense.

Total snaps returning

They’re bringing back 1,363 snaps at the position. 621 of those are from Benjamin Morrison. Notre Dame fans are well aware he’s an elite player.

Jaden Mickey (253) and Christian Gray (198) are also returning, which makes three of the top-four outside corners from last season.

Senior Clarence Lewis (236) is also back. He played primarily as a nickel last season with 191 of those when he was aligned as a slot defender. Lewis also has 23 career starts and can play multiple positions.

Chance Tucker (34) played all of his snaps in garbage time. Micah Bell played 21 snaps as a redshirt during his freshman season.

Notable returning production

Morrison had 16.5 total havoc plays (pass breakups, interceptions, tackles for loss, and force fumbles). He knows how to find the football and was tied for 6th amongst Power 5 corners in forced incompletion percentage (26% on a minimum of 200 snaps in coverage).

Mickey and Gray each played their highest amount of snaps in the Pittsburgh game when Morrison and Cam Hart were injured. Mickey had a pick-six and Gray had a highlight reel interception that day.

Lewis had four passes defended last season, including a pick-six. He has 27 total havoc plays in his career and a blocked punt.

Additions

Leonard Moore is on campus as an early enrollee. Karson Hobbs won’t be on campus until June. Neither is expected to contribute much this season, but we’ve seen Morrison and Gray as recent examples of freshmen who were too good to keep off the field.

Jordan Clark is new to the roster as a graduate transfer from Arizona State. The team captain was a multi-year starter at nickel and excelled in a man coverage heavy scheme in 2022. He had 19.5 havoc plays in the last two seasons.

Spring competition

Morrison’s job is secure, but Gray and Mickey should battle it out for Hart’s spot. Mickey has more experience to the field than Gray and we’ll see how much of a factor that is.

Will one or both of them also get in the mix as Notre Dame’s nickel? It’s possible, but Clark, Lewis, and Micah Bell are the likely three who will battle it out there. All of Bell’s reps when he got on the field were there last season and Mike Mickens had him focus on playing there in his first year.

Safety Rod Heard is also an option after playing mostly nickel for Northwestern the last two seasons, but it appears he is more likely going to compete to start opposite Xavier Watts this fall.

Notre Dame is essentially replacing two starting corners in Hart and Thomas Harper, but they may be even better than they were at the position last season.

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