Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2015.
There were 11 players this past year who retained a year of eligibility and today we look at a confident corner from Maryland.
CB, Ashton White
Hometown: Clinton, Maryland
247 Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
3-star, No. 44 ATH, No. 6 DC, No. 591 USA, 0.862 Score
Need at Position: Mild
Expected Spot on 2016 Depth Chart: 3rd String
Last cycle Notre Dame went into just east of the nation's capital and plucked out an aggressive corner from Bishop McNamara High School. Here are my comments on Ashton White from a year ago:
White is a pretty good athlete that plays with a lot of passion. There are very few clips of him where he isn't happily celebrating or jawing with the opponent. Some might not like that, but I'm okay with it for a secondary player. He has good size and probably won't have to put on much weight to play corner in college. His body looks pretty well developed. However, I don't see the type of suddenness and quickness that is needed at corner. White has good instincts but might struggle on an island playing man coverage against a wide receiver. I'd probably move him immediately to a strong safety role, add some weight, and try to use his physicality and edge to his advantage.
To safety or not to safety? That was the question nearly everyone was asking about White as the 2015 class signed last year. The path to playing time at safety is much easier right now as any Irish fan would attest.
Those plans may be on hold pending any weight gain by White. The summer and fall of your first season aren't great periods for added bulk so the upcoming off-season could be crucial to any potential position switch. That also means a move by spring practice in less than 2 months is unlikely as Notre Dame currently has no safeties under 200 pounds and that would be rather enormous weight gain on a 5-11 frame.
The thing is depth at corner isn't great right now, either. At least, for spring practice. Numbers wise White would be a distant 6th among all corners but Devin Butler will be coming off a broken foot suffered right before the Fiesta Bowl and Shaun Crawford is sure to be limited at best coming off a torn ACL from late August.
This should afford White plenty of opportunity to make a move as he enters his first spring. There should be a lot of reps available to give him a long showcase and serious look for playing time in the fall.
Moving into a starting role is probably unrealistic. For someone in his position it will be imperative that White develops during the spring before several new freshmen corners report for summer. There won't be any early enrollee corners to battle so for his sake it won't be a good sign if we get to the middle of August and White is getting passed on the depth chart by someone like Troy Pride.
Most look at a player like White and think he's probably not a threat to become a factor next year and therefore won't pay much attention to him this spring. I'd argue that if that's the case he's more important than most to pay attention to because this is a crucial time to see if he'll develop into a valued member or if he starts to get lost in the shuffle.