Three Players to Watch For the Spring Game

Notre Dame’s 90th Spring game kicks off April 13th but Spring practice has been well underway. With Notre Dame coming off a playoff blowout last season, there is high expectations to return and out perform the dud to finish the 2018 season. With key contributors graduating and off to the NFL, some players will have to step up and fill in.

Jacob Lacey

The Freshman defensive tackle has been wowing just about everyone so far through Spring camp. With the departure of Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame is going to need to replace the potential first round pick. Lacey isn’t slotted as the number one defensive tackle at this point but he is working his way into playing time.

As mentioned above, Lacey isn’t a finished product obviously. The Freshman also has plenty of help. Tillery was forced into the spot his Freshman season and had to grow up fast. Lacey has the luxury of learning from guys with experience. But even more so is the defensive line rotation being likely one of the best in the country. Lacey has less pressure and all the time needed to learn and work on technique. With the rest of Spring and the entire Summer with time to work, Lacey could get good in a hurry. The former four star recruit is worth keeping an eye on through camp. He has been blowing people up and causing issues for the offense already. Lacey could be the next great defensive lineman at Notre Dame.

Phil Jurkovec

There is no QB competition in South Bend, just like last season. Ian Book has earned every right to stay the starting QB at Notre Dame and shouldn’t be written off because of a poor playoff performance. But Book also needs to develop and grow from last season because Jurkovec is pushing for playing time.

After playing in a very limited role last season, Jurkovec has impressed at times during camp. Jurkovec has had one major point keep coming up during his time at Notre Dame. He can throw the deep ball and can make some incredibly impressive throws. But when he doesn’t set his feet his passes are off target and he makes questionable decisions at times.

The technique and decision making will come with time and experience as he continues to develop. But Jurkovec does need to fix these flaws to beat out Book. Jurkovec has become a bit of a fan favorite as half the fan base has clamored for him to start. You can’t deny how physically gifted Jurkovec is and there is a reason he was such a highly touted recruit. But Book has some eligibility left and there are a few very talented quarterbacks committed to Notre Dame. The Spring game will be our first look at Jurkovec in close to real game action since last season. Showing serious signs of growth will be a major step to see how far he has come.

Michael Young

Young has slowly started to build a lead for the receiver spot opposite Chase Claypool. But Young has to continue to grow and hold off some very talented players behind him.

Young is a major player to watch because of his competition to hold his spot over Kevin Austin. Austin is an incredible talent that has run into some trouble off the field. While it hasn’t been serious problems, from the sounds of it he just needs to mature a bit. Seeing how we are talking about young college kids, I don’t think that is to crazy of a problem.

But for Young, as talented as he is, will need to prove that he deserves to stay on the field. This also isn’t to discredit Young, he made some noise last season for the Fighting Irish.

Young can stretch the field and it is what Notre Dame needs. Notre Dame has always struggled against elite teams because of their lack of high end playmakers. Clemson put their highly athletic receivers on display against Notre Dame and Alabama, speed kills.

Young has also garnered praise from his teammates.

Michael Young was the first name out of his mouth when asked to assess the emerging speed in the Irish wide receiving corps, a collective movement strong enough that the Irish have stopped pursuing Virginia Tech grad transfer receiver Eric Kumah, per a source.
“Michael Young has some wheels,” said Pride, the top sprinter on the ND track team in the 2018 indoor and outdoor season.

quote from ND Insider

Troy Pride is known for his elite speed at corner so this is an uplifting quote. If Young is catching the eye of one of the fast players on the team, it is a good thing for Notre Dame. Young hasn’t locked up his spot yet and Kevin Austin and Co. will be doing everything they can to crack the lineup. Young could further distance himself with a strong showing April 13th.

Let us know what you think below! Is there any player you look forward to watching when the Blue-Gold game rolls around?

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