The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players and coaches, 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.
Mike Mickens, Cornerbacks
Up next for the Irish is a newcomer who comes with a wealth of playing/coaching experience and an pre-existing relationship with Brian Kelly. He was a 2 time All American under Kelly at the Cincinnati Bearcats and played in both the NFL and CFL before retiring early due to injury. He had a prolific career at UC and has the school records in interception (14) and interception return yards. He’s had 2 stops at Cincinnati during his coaching career and brings a tenacity to both the field and as a recruiter.
He has proven himself as a coach/mentor after helping guide Freshman All American Ahmad Gardner a year ago into one of the best young corners in college football. He looks to bring that level of progress to the talented, but not fully proven Irish corners. He will lean on veteran 6th year corner Shaun Crawford and rising junior TaRiq Bracy. He also has a host of young talent, which he can shape into the next wave of great Irish DBs.
On top of that, he has shown his immediate chops as a recruiter by bringing in Nick McCloud as a graduate transfer from N.C. State. This is one of the biggest recruiting gets in a while for the Irish as McCloud fills an immediate need and should be a day 1 starter. Mickens has also worked to land Notre Dame’s top 2 corner prospects in Ryan Barnes and Philip Riley. As you can tell, this is a guy that top talent wants to play for, which exactly what the Irish need.
Mickens had 14 INTs at Cincy. That is insane. He was true ball hawk and will coach the corners to attack the ball in the air and bring a ferocity to their game. He also played with a ton of swag, IE the hawk above who looks like a baller......
Mickens has a lot of returning talent with his top 3 corners in Crawford, Bracy, and McCloud. He should coach them up and have a very very solid group. The larger task will be coaching up the younger players who will inevitably have to fill in for the veterans. I have no doubt that someone outside of those 3 guys will receive significant time this year. When Mickens was announced, it was praised across the board and he is already making his impact known. It is unfortunate he didn’t have the Spring to work with the guys, but he has put himself in a great position to lead the corners in a big way in 2020.