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This Guy Plays Notre Dame Football: #21 Jalen Elliott

Touchdown Delays Expected Due to Passing Lane Congestion. Stay Tuned

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game
Interception! Keep it coming, Jalen!
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Elliott! Please leave that tackling dummy alone for a second and let us say some words about you.

What do the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have in Sophomore strong safety Jalen Elliott? Certainly a touchstone for ‘17 defense. This Spring he ascended to first string at at one of Notre Dame’s most vexed positions.

Will his play, and the play of new free safety Nick Coleman, be adequate to allow the defense to function without having to schematically protect its safeties, and allow it to cut down on the big plays that have been the downfall of Notre Dame’s defense since Bob Diaco?

3 Things to Know about Jalen Elliott:

  1. Elliott has a lot to learn about Safety. He played the position at Virginia state champ Lloyd C. Bird high school, but was primarily a quarterback, and most recruiting sites called him an “athlete”. He has had one year learning the position while getting on the field sporadically in ‘16. By his own admission he struggled last year with the speed of the game, tackling, and the heft of large running backs. but he now expresses a renewed confidence with all of these challenges.
  2. His first string position is not entirely by default. Ever get suspicious that our safeties get playing time because there aren’t any other options? It’s hard to find much insight from the coaches about why things shuffled out the way they have, but Elliott appears to have impressed Elko more than Devin Studstill, and impressed enough to allow him to invest in the Drue Tranquil at Rover experiment…. And he made 7 tackles in the Blue Gold game!
  3. Elliott seems like a refreshingly honest interviewee: During this Spring: “It’s a lot I need to work on, especially tackling.” After his first game, the OT loss to Texas, when he was on the field for Texas’ game winning drive: “I didn’t want it (the loss) to be on me really, but just because I didn’t want to let the defense down as a whole.” Jalen comes off as humble enough to evaluate his game properly, and then grow. That should come in handy.

YouTube Hot Fire

Feast your eyes on the best of high school Jalen Elliott. Here’s to hoping the highlight reel has updates for next year.

I B$, Dub thee, Jalen “Blanky Time” Elliott

Come on. What else do we want from our secondary? Nice, safe, blanket coverage. And what are we afraid of, but learning to reflexively pull the covers over our heads on deep passing plays? Either way, its “Blanky Time” in 2017.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Forecast

In 2017 Jalen Elliott will be first string all season, but will be eased into his role with Drue Tranquil and Devin Studstill spelling him frequently in the early season. By the end of the season people will be excited about him, for 2018. Before then his season will be passable. ie, The passing lanes will be mildly congested, with longer-than-2016 delays in reaching the end zone through the air.

I’ll say 60 tackles and 2 interceptions. And I expect fewer communication errors at safety than last year even with 2 first year starters, simply because of Mike Elko!