Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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28 APRIL 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED DEFENSIVE LINEMEN N o u n i t on Notre D a m e ' s ro s t e r e n t e r s the spring with more question m a r k s s u r - ro u n d i n g i t . The defensive line needs lead- ership and, de- spite the presence of 13 returning scholarship play- ers in the spring, it lacks proven production. On the outside, Notre Dame is relying on the emergence of senior end Andrew Trumbetti. He is Notre Dame's most pro- ductive returning player, but he has not come close to reaching the levels expected of him following a good freshman season. A pair of sophomores — Daelin Hayes and Julian Okwara — offer top-level tal- ent at the drop-end position, but the duo combined for just 15 tackles as freshmen. Another sophomore, Khalid Kareem, will look to compete with Trumbetti and se- nior Jay Hayes for playing time at the strongside end position. All five of those ends were ranked as four-stars coming out of high school, and Notre Dame needs them to start playing like it this spring. On the inside, it is time for junior nose tackle Jerry Tillery to turn his potential into production. He has started 15 games in his first two seasons, but recorded just five tackles for loss and one sack. If Notre Dame's defensive line is going to compete like a playoff- caliber team it needs Tillery to anchor the inside of the line. Senior Jonathan Bonner has shown a knack for getting after the quarterback, and right now he has the inside track on the defensive tackle position, but ju- niors Micah Dew-Tread- way and Elijah Taylor will also look to land a role in the rotation. BY THE NUMBERS 3 Sacks recorded by Notre Dame's defensive line last year, the fewest among the 64 Power Five teams in the country. No returning lineman had a sack in 2016. 8.5 Career tackles for loss by senior end Andrew Trum- betti. The other 12 return- ing scholarship players along the line have com- bined for 12.5. 182.4 Rushing yards per game yielded by the Irish to finish 72nd among 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. It also marked the first time ever Notre Dame allowed more than 170 rushing yards per game in three consecu- tive seasons. POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH The three-technique tackle spot vacated by Sheldon Day in 2016 was handled by Jerry Tillery in 2016, but with the gradu- ation of Jarron Jones it appears Tillery will return to nose guard to anchor the middle. Senior Jonathan Bonner is the front-runner after taking 255 snaps last season (nine tackles), but classmate Jay Hayes (10 tackles) plus juniors Elijah Taylor and Micah Dew-Treadway are also vying for time after going through development phases. WHO'S GONE Isaac Rochell The three-year starter and 2016 captain amassed 167 career tackles, 22 stops for loss, 4.5 sacks, 27 quarterback hurries and six passes defended. Jarron Jones Recorded 105 career stops, 19.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks as a nose guard/tackle, and blocked six field goals or extra points. WHO'S BACK Senior Andrew Trumbetti His 63 career tackles at end are the most among returning lineman, and seven of his 11 career starts came last season when he had 26 stops. He has two career sacks, but none came last season. Junior Jerry Tillery After recording 12 tackles as a freshman co-starter at nose guard, he upped the total to 37 (three for loss) in 2016, replacing the gradu- ated Sheldon Day and starting all 12 games. He is projected to return to nose guard. Senior Daniel Cage Tied with Trumbetti for the second most career starts (11) along the line, the 6-1 nose guard was cleared to practice this spring after missing the final four and a half games last year with a concussion. TOP NEWCOMERS Sophomore Daelin Hayes The former five-star recruit is not really "new" because he totaled 155 snaps in 12 games, but he will be expected to have more impact as a pass rusher at weakside end. Sophomore Khalid Kareem The one-time Alabama commit saw 15 snaps as a 2016 freshman, but may have preserved a redshirt. If he can fulfill his potential at strong- side end, maybe he won't need that fifth year. 2017 SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW Returning Returning Year-End Year Starts Tackles Tackles 2016 51 248 210 2017 38 186 — QUOTABLE "He's up to 255, we think he's in a stronger position to handle the rigors of the position, in particular that strongside end. When he wasn't holding his weight in the manner that he needed to, it would've been more of a concern, but we feel really good about where he is right now." — HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY ON SENIOR ANDREW TRUMBETTI LINING UP AT STRONGSIDE END AFTER WORKING AT WEAKSIDE END LAST YEAR ANDREW TRUMBETTI PHOTO BY RICK KIMBALL

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