The 2019 season is right around the corner and has left us all clamoring for more. Thankfully camp has kicked off and we can at least read through practice notes and watch interviews. Fall camp is still in the early stages but the defense has been impressing early.
Kyle Hamilton was the star of the 2019 class and the lone five star according to 247Sports. He didn’t disappoint in his first practice.
Not a great look for Jurkovec, however, Hamilton having three picks in one practice is nothing short of incredible. Seeing a young player shine this early is always great, even more so at a safety position that didn’t have a whole lot of confidence behind Gilman and Elliott.
Freshmen don’t typically get a ton of playing time under Brian Kelly, but Hamilton isn’t your typical Freshman.
Notre Dame has one of the best defensive end groups in the entire country. Kareem, Okwara and Hayes all returning will make the pass rush an offensive nightmare. All three will likely be in the NFL next season and Okwara and Kareem will be more than likely be high round picks.
Troy Pride is another player that is ready to step into the spot light with Julian Love off to the NFL. Pride is one of the fastest players in the entire country and actually outplayed Love down the stretch last season. He may not be as technically sound as Love, but he doesn’t need to be. Pride as the speed and explosiveness to hide his mistakes and jump routes.
The safety position was already highlighted but they are another group that is one of the better tandems in the country. Gilman and Elliott return after a surprisingly great 2018. For all of the talk about the loss of the linebacking core, Julian Love and Jerry Tillery, this team still has the pieces to be dynamic.
Three of the four starting DB’s return, one of the best defensive end groups in the country and a young but very athletic linebacking core.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah missed most of last season with a broken foot but has been incredibly impressive in the early days of camp. He is the likely starter at rover and will be joining some cast of Bilal, Kizer, Simon, Bauer, Lamb to fill out the linebackers. While young and inexperienced, they also have shown athleticism and just need more reps to put it together. Bilal is the elder statesmen but has lacked the ability to take over the middle of the defense. His athleticism has never been a question, his ability to make the right reads has been shakey. We won’t know what to make of the middle of the defense until we see some live action in a game situation. Notre Dame has recruited well and have a great supporting cast to help with the learning curve.
The 2019 Season
Lucky for Notre Dame, they don’t open with a powerhouse week one. They get to work the kinks out against Louisville and New Mexico before taking on Georgia. Georgia has questions at receiver while Notre Dame has a major strength in both pass rush and pass coverage.
They may not live up to the defense of 2018 and they won’t be the best defense Kelly has ever had. But they will be one of the most athletic and explosive. Kelly enters 2019 with what could be his best offense yet which couldn’t come at a better time. The defense won’t hold everyone to 10 points a game. But a high powered offense and the ability to jump routes or cause a strip sack could be all they need for a return to the playoff.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.