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Notre Dame Football: Who Could Be An Under-The-Radar Playmaker?

I turn to the defensive side of the ball to find the answer.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Spring Game is fast approaching and story lines are being made at the Notre Dame football spring practices. It is a great time to look for glimpses of potential in players who maybe have not seen the field much in their Irish career. To me, a playmaker could emerge at the linebacker position.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are losing two studs in Drue Tranquil and Te’von Coney. Somebody has to step on the field and replace those two guys.

Stanford v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Before I get into my pick, let’s go back to this time last year. Did anyone in the world believe Jalen Elliot would have the season he did last year? Elliot was a ball hawk at safety. He almost came out of nowhere to be a rock solid performer at the last line of defense. Who will be next year’s Jalen Elliot?

Safety was a thin, inexperienced position last year. During the 2019 season it will be the linebacker position that lacks proven playmakers. Right now on April 7th, I would take a shot in the dark and pick Paul Moala to be the surprise player next year.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Paul Moala saw action last year on special teams and did everything the coaches asked of him. He was not a high ranked recruit and has kind of flown under everyone’s radar. Reports this spring are saying that Moala has looked good when on the first team defense. Maybe his year on special teams has paid off. Moala had two great Irish linebackers to model himself after. Hopefully the leadership of Tranquil and Coney are felt next year when the linebacking group can emulate what they were able to do.

Other candidates would include:

  1. Jack Lamb
  2. Jonathan Jones
  3. Jordan Genmark Heath
  4. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

The one thing I do know is that someone will step up and be way better than ever projected. It seems like a linebacker is an obvious choice to make this jump.

Who will be next year’s Jalen Elliot?