The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#3 Houston Griffith, Safety
Griffith came to Notre Dame after an intense recruiting battle with the Florida State Seminoles. At one point during that time, Griffith looked like a lock to the Irish before he committed to FSU — and then the Irish were able to flip him in the end.
As a freshman in 2018, Griffith became the team’s starting nickel back because of a season ending injury to Shawn Crawford in fall camp. Griffith showed promise, but he was still pretty raw.
In 2019, Griffith was moved around from safety to cornerback — but did not regain his role as the nickel, and his production decreased sharply. The general consensus was that Griffith would make a better safety than cornerback, but corner depth was lacking. The rise of Kyle Hamilton as a freshman safety phenom also played a role in the lack of a real role for Griffith.
Griffith has took a little bit of a beating, but the potential is still there. It reminds me of Rod’s struggle to whip Frank’s ass. It took Rod saving Frank’s life to finally knock the shit out of Frank — but he got there. He’s a fighter, and didn’t quit.
There have been quite a few people that were ready to write Griffith off and pencil Isaiah Pryor into the starting role at safety opposite of Hamilton. While we only got one day of spring practice, Houston made quite the impression with onlookers and changed the conversation about his role entirely.
There are a handful of players that really needed the spring practices to make a jump on the depth chart and Griffith was definitely one of them. Had he been able to get the full 15 practices in, perhaps he would be the frontrunner for the position in fall camp. As it stands, he will still enter neck and neck with Pryor.
So... it’s still quite unknown what Griffith’s role will be in 2020. He could very well become a starting safety, and depending upon how the cornerback depth chart pans out, he could see some type of role at the nickel — even if he does start at safety.
In my opinion, the development of Griffith for 2020 is extremely important to future success of the Irish defense. It’s a wait and see game, but if he channel’s that inner Rod Kimble, he has a fighting chance.