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.
#33 Shayne Simon, Linebacker
Shayne Simon is a rising junior from Jersey City, NJ. A product of St. Peters Prep (the same high school as classmates Justin and Jayson Ademilola, as well as Brandon Wimbush), Simon was the #90 overall player, #6 outside linebacker and #3 New Jerseyan in the class of 2018, and held offers from all over the country. The Michigan Wolverines in particular wanted him badly, but Shayne spurned his khaki-clad stalker and committed to the Irish in July of 2017.
Although he was classified as a linebacker by recruiting services, Simon also had a background at safety. His combination of downhill size and speed with awareness in space made him a seemingly perfect fit for the Rover slot in Notre Dame’s defense.
Because of that versatile and athletic skillset, Simon saw immediate action, playing in nine games at Rover in 2018 with four total tackles and a pass breakup. In spring 2019, Simon made a somewhat surprising move to the inside. He ended up seeing time at both the BUCK and MIKE linebacker positions as Clark Lea worked to find the best combination of athletes to put on the field. Prior to his season-ending injury against the Navy Midshipmen, Simon had nine tackles and 1.5 sacks, with his best performance (four tackles and all 1.5 of those sacks) coming in extended mop-up duty against the Bowling Green Falcons.
The Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is a mythical creature said to inhabit southern Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Originating in colonial folklore, the monster is known among “Devil Hunters” (the self-proclaimed “official researchers” of the Jersey Devil) for its voracious appetite and incredible speed. The Jersey Devil is said to be a terrifying sight, and is also the namesake of the only major professional sports team that is willing to admit it plays in New Jersey.
I really wanted to use this spirit animal for a player from Jersey and Simon was the first one I got, but there are other ways this is a fit. Like his cryptozoological counterpart, Simon is an uber-gifted athlete who, given his impressive size and strength, is bound to terrify any campers/running backs on whom he can get a head of steam. With his speed and natural ability to defend the run and the pass, Simon is seemingly everywhere and nowhere at once; you think he’s out of the picture and then there he is, about to tackle you and take your soul. Although Notre Dame fans will be happy to see him haunting the field, opposing fans and offensive coordinators will be quivering in fear.
With current starters Drew White and Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah returning at the MIKE and Rover positions, respectively, Simon will be one of several players vying to replace newly minted LA Charger Asmar Bilal as the starter at BUCK linebacker. He will have to beat out worthy contenders in Jordan Genmark Heath (a rising senior hungry to leave a mark) and classmate Jack Lamb (a rangier player who is even better in coverage than Simon) to get there, but Simon’s overall athleticism and versatility will get him a ton of snaps as part of a deep and talented linebacker rotation. While it’s tough to predict he will be a starter off the bat, Simon will definitely be a major contributor when the Irish take the field again.