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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Spring Position Switches and Weight Gains

March 1, 2019

There’s always some good nuggets that come out of the first Brian Kelly conference before the start of spring ball. Today was no different with some notable position switches and some interesting weight gains as listed on the roster Notre Dame distributed.

Here’s my quick thoughts on what stood out to me:

- I really like that they’re moving Avery Davis to corner and giving him a shot to compete there. I have no idea how it will turn out, but he was buried on the depth chart at running back. He wasn’t going to get into the mix there and if he moved to receiver, he might have found himself in a similar situation.

Corner gives him a shot, especially with Shaun Crawford and Donte Vaughn out for the spring.

Davis is a very good athlete and if you were playing a schoolyard football game, he’d be one of the Notre Dame players you wanted on your team. Hopefully he has a chance to shine with this switch and finds a role in 2019.

- It was not surprising at all that Houston Griffith was moved to boundary corner. In my opinion he will be one of the Notre Dame’s best 11 on defense and they need to get him on the field. This is probably his best opportunity to do so with Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott returning at safety.

I’ve always been a big believer in Griffith at corner and that’s why I had him rated higher than anyone else as the 29th best prospect in the country in 2018. This is what I wrote about him back when I watched him excel as a corner at The Opening in the summer of 2017.

He can play corner at a top level. His instincts and ability to mirror were as good as any. He wastes little movement in and out of his pedal and I saw a number of best receivers fail to gain separation against him.
I know at least one site has him ranked as a safety. To me, he definitively stated he can play corner and play it well at the next level with the way he showed out.

- Now we know that Asmar Bilal will get his chance to play inside linebacker this spring. As Kelly mentioned, there is a ton of competition so nothing is going to be handed to him there.

Now that it’s official he’ll be competing there, what are they Irish going to do at Rover?

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would seem like a front-runner for that spot. He just hasn’t been able to stay healthy. But who are the other candidates?

Shayne Simon is up to 230 pounds so I would think he’ll be competing more at Buck than Rover, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough. They’re going to keep Derrik Allen at safety (he’s up to 220) based on what Kelly said today. Him and Paul Moala should see a ton of reps there with Griffith moving to corner.

Rover is the forgotten piece of the defense, but when you have a good one, like Clemson had in Isaiah Simmons this past season, that player never leaves the field.

- I know I mentioned in 6 Thoughts that Chase Claypool moving to the boundary seemed like good possibility and I’m excited to see him there full-time. He’s had Equanimeous St. Brown and Miles Boykin blocking him at that spot before and now the door is wide open for him.

- Kelly didn’t mention it, but Ovie Oghoufo was listed as a defensive lineman on the roster. It was another expected move and it probably sets up the Irish more for 2020 than it does now. But who knows, maybe he’ll flash in a big way and force his way onto the field this season.

- The most interesting weight gains/losses on the roster for me:

Darnell Ewell from 330 to 340. That can’t be good with a move back to defensive tackle. Right now he is on the Pete Mokwuah track unless he shocks the world this spring.

Cole Mabry only up to 273 from 270. That is majorly concerning to me for a guy who came in undersized. That first redshirt season and the winter are usually the time when a player like him puts on a lot of weight.

Braden Lenzy from 170 to 184. That’s more of an example of what I’m referring to when it comes to taking advantage of that redshirt season.

Ade Ogundeji from 255 to 250. Any thought of him getting regular reps at 3-tech went down the drain. It will have to be 3rd down situations only if they use him inside as a pass rusher.

Isaiah Robertson down from 215 to 202 and sticking at wide receiver. No one is mentioning him as a guy who can push at the position right now, but this might mean he’s putting in the work to get his weight down to get quicker. We’ll see if it pays off.

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