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.
#52 Bo Bauer, Linebacker
Bo Bauer came to Notre Dame as a fairly sought-after inside linebacker prospect out of Erie, Pennsylvania. The 6’2”, 222-lb recruit was a 4-star in the 247sports composite rankings, slotted as the 293rd-best player in the country, the 16th-best inside linebacker, and the #11 player in Pennsylvania for the 2018 class.
Besides the Irish, Bauer held offers from a number of other schools who’ve cranked out NFL linebackers, including Michigan State, Penn State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Iowa State, and Maryland. However, after unofficially visiting the ND campus in June of 2016, Bauer saw enough that he liked and committed to Brian Kelly’s program just two months later.
As a senior at Cathedral Prep, he recorded 96 tackles (18.5 TFL), 9 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 blocked punts, and 1 forced fumble, leading his team to a 14-0 record and a PIAA 4A state title while also earning himself a spot as a finalist for the 2017 Butkus Award for the nation’s best high school linebacker.
Not long after that championship, Bauer signed with ND in December, enabling him to enroll early in January 2018. That early start allowed Bauer to earn playing time as a true freshman, making 10 tackles and playing in all 13 games in that 2018 CFP season.
Last year, as a sophomore, Bauer continued to be a key reserve at linebacker, playing in all games once again and this time contributing a few more tackles — 28 total for the season, with 2 for loss — and blocking a punt in the blowout loss to Michigan. His best game was Navy, in which he had a career-high 5 tackles.
Gerry Bertier from Remember the Titans
There just seems to be a lot of similarities between these two guys — strong, physical, broad-shouldered dudes who dominated at linebacker in high school and seem to have somewhat similar personalities — gruff, aggressive, and headstrong at first, but actually really good dudes once you get past all that.
The similarities end with Gerry’s paralysis and early death and the fact that Bo is now competing at the highest level of college football, but in terms of Gerry in that movie and Bo, I definitely see Bo pulling off a stop-and-point taunt of an opposing racist coach like the one Gerry does in the video below. Plus it could mean one of the defensive ends on this team could be Julius Campbell, which would be prettttttty nice.
With 2019 starting middle linebacker Drew White back again in 2020, Bauer likely won’t crack a starting linebacker rotation that will also feature potential All-American Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and probably senior Jordan Genmark Heath at the third spot.
However, Bauer is pretty securely the #2 MLB behind White, having more experience than his classmate Shayne Simon and seemingly above him in the pecking order for PT. So, definitely expect to see Bauer on the field a decent amount, especially considering his hard-hitting abilities and size/strength that could be useful in short-yardage defense.
I’d expect Bauer to have something like 30-40 tackles in 2020, setting himself up for a good amount of playing time in 2021 — although Drew White will have a 5th year of eligibility and will very likely be back that season as well.
Bauer may have to shift positions, or perhaps he will need to outplay White over the next year or so if he wants to finish his Notre Dame career as a starter. But no matter what, expect to see him more and more out on defense for the Irish in 2020 and 2021.