Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 9 | S Jalen Elliott

July 24, 2019
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We are looking at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

Senior Jalen Elliott might not fall into the younger player searching for a role or an older player looking to make a move at the end of his collegiate career, but he’s intriguing because he might just be tapping into his potential. 

The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder recorded 56 tackles in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, but Elliott was often out of position or caught thinking too much. Now, it certainly wasn’t his fault he was thrown to the wolves as a true freshman in 2016, however, there was a concerning lack of growth in 2017 despite an improvement on the stat sheet. 

Enter 2018 Jalen Elliott. 

As a junior, the Virginia native recorded 67 tackles, 0.5 sacks, four interceptions and seven pass deflections to go with one forced fumble. 

Elliott didn’t just produce, but he made timely plays and took on a leadership role, which has translated into the last seven months as the Irish wind down the offseason this week. 

In fact, Elliott’s name comes up quite often when discussing potential 2019 captains. I finished this piece on Monday night and on Tuesday night, a source close to the program sent a text message that read like this: 

“Jalen Elliott is about to blow up. Nothing but good things to say about him. (Alohi) Gilman is a stud, but don’t sleep on Elliott.” 

Notre Dame has always been better when it has great leadership at the forefront and Elliott could be one of the many answers in 2019. 

“I feel like I’ve always been a vocal leader,” stated Elliott. “As far as talking in front of the team, I feel it has to be earned. I feel the guys have come to me and said I earned it. I want to continue to earn it. I want to lead by example as well as being a vocal leader.” 

Could Notre Dame have one of the best secondary units in the country this year? Gilman has received most of the hype along with cornerback Troy Pride Jr., but Elliott could be the tipping point. 

If Elliott can improve on his growth from a year ago, it could be just what defensive coordinator Clark Lea needs as he breaks in a very inexperienced second level of the defense.

It’s rare for one secondary to have so much experience, but that’s why Elliott and Pride were thrown to the wolves in the 2016 and even in 2017. They have experienced the best atmospheres in college football and the ups and downs of significant wins and losses. 

Notre Dame fans have been discussing trips to Georgia, Michigan and Stanford since January and Elliott has experience and seasoning to become an X-factor next to Gilman. Could he be the difference in those games?

It wouldn’t shock me. 

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