The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have already finished an early signing day, concluded their season with a bowl win over the LSU Tigers, and wrapped up the final signing day. Now, it’s time to begin the transition to Spring Football. To prepare for that, we’re going to take a look at each positional group heading into spring. Early enrollees will be included in this, but signees who did not enroll early will not be included. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
- Matthew Bauer (FR)
- Jack Lamb (FR)
- Ovie Oghoufo (FR)
- David Adams (SO)
- Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah (SO)
- Drew White (SO)
- Jamir Jones (JR)
- Jonathan Jones (JR)
- D.J. Morgan (JR)
- Asmar Bilal (SR)
- Tevon Coney (SR)
- Drue Tranquill (5th-Yr)
Clark Lea is a very happy man.
Returning to his linebacker corps are his two most impactful players from last season: Tevon Coney and Drue Tranquill. Between the two were 190 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Each player always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and always in position to make a big play.
Going into 2018, these two will be looked upon as leaders in this defense. They will be relied upon to rise to the occasion. They have the experience and the ability to help take command of this defense.
Coney is anticipated to start at the “Mike” middle linebacker position. Drue Tranquill will line up at either Rover or Buck, although he is expected to train primarily at Buck during this spring. Whether or not he stays at Buck or returns to his prior role at Rover will be determined by the younger players behind him.
Vying for the starting Rover role will most likely be Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah and Asmar Bilal, with Bilal likely having the edge due to his more extensive experience. Another name that could potentially pop up in this competition would be D.J. Morgan. Ovie Oghoufo could potentially train at Rover, although that is neither known nor is it the expectation.
At Buck, Tranquill will likely take the lead as mentioned earlier. Oghoufo might also potentially train here, as could Jack Lamb. As a side-note, two of the three freshman linebackers coming in - Jack Lamb and Ovie Oghoufo - could possibly begin training at more than one position in this defense.
Behind Coney at middle linebacker, we will likely see three different players. Barring a pretty big shake-up in the rotation, Jonathan Jones and Jamir Jones will likely be the primary backups. Frosh Matthew Bauer will probably be 4th on the depth chart as he learns the system. As previously mentioned, Jack Lamb could end up training here instead of Buck.
Both the short and long term futures look bright for Notre Dame’s linebackers, as there’s plenty of young and experienced talents littering the depth chart. This spring marks the building of a new foundation for Notre Dame’s defense over the next few years, while the veterans of the group will hopefully propel this defense to an impressive season in 2018.