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Bagpipe Monday: Does Notre Dame Football Have Enough Defensive Line Talent?

So, you’re saying there’s a chance?

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Syracuse Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most common themes for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during spring football every year is one of smoke and mirrors. I’m almost sure that it is never planned, but nevertheless... each year we are subject to storylines and quotes that would have us believe one thing- but once the season starts, it’s as if these things never happened.

Bagpipe Monday Notre Dame @phillykelly

For a lot of us, this kind of talk will conjure up images of Junior Jabbie, Anthony Vernaglia, and others. They were spring promises that were never fulfilled- mostly because they were never a realistic option.

This year, the talk is starting to focus in on a small handful of storylines, but the one that is of most concern, is the one that we were already concerned with before spring started.

The defensive line.

Brian Kelly is feeling pretty good about the defensive line and recently said:

“I think we have a lot more on the defensive line than many people think. We have some edge players with athletic ability. We’re physical inside. There’s a lot more than what people have made out our defensive line to be.”


Notre Dame has stocked up on numbers, and has a total of 18 defensive linemen for the fall of 2017.

2017 Defensive Linemen

Based on the last practice that was viewed on Saturday, the starting unit looks like this:

  • DE Jay Hayes
  • DT Jonathan Bonner
  • NT Jerry Tillery
  • RE Daelin Hayes

If you’re counting, that’s one real starter from 2016 (Tillery). The second unit looks like this:

  • DE Andrew Trumbetti
  • DT Micah Dew-Treadway
  • NT Daniel Cage
  • RE Julian Okwara

If you’re counting, that’s two real starters from the 2016 season. I’m not saying that the defensive line can’t- or won’t have a really productive season in 2017, but past spring misunderstandings and a line shift such as this has me much more guarded about that possibility.


How will the Irish defensive line perform in 2017?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Normal flashes
    (94 votes)
  • 58%
    Better than expected
    (256 votes)
  • 19%
    Grim- but that spring fling was dope!
    (85 votes)
435 votes total Vote Now

Look, there is still a ton of time between now and the season opener against the Temple Owls, so a lot can change. For one thing, the starting lineup may look entirely different as Daniel Cage gets healthier. Another factor could be the addition of Scott Pagano as a graduate transfer. So... I can definitely see a lot of optimism, but I’m just not sure.

Your pipes: