Notre-Dame Fall Camp Preview | Security


It doesn’t suck to be Chris O’Leary.

Before being promoted to safeties coach, he coached position Rover and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. When he moved to his current role, he inherited Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton leaves for the NFL and an impact transfer comes in to take his place in Brandon Joseph.

Joseph lived up to the hype this spring. He was a ballhawk at Northwestern and continued to be the same in practice at Notre Dame. The lingering questions about him were around the tackle as he struggled a bit in that department in 2021, but that didn’t seem to be a problem for him.

Expectations are high for Joseph and he should have a strong camp heading into the season.

What will they do at the other security point? They certainly have options. They also have experience with DJ Brown and Houston Griffith return.

Brown is someone who missed a few key tackles in places and he’s not an elite athlete, but he finds the football and has good timing as a blitzer. Playing with Joseph could allow Brown to be more involved in the box than he was before and that’s something that I think could benefit him.

It’s been the same with Griffith for a long time. He’s a solid player in most areas. He tackles well and brings this physical part of the game which is necessary for the position. It comes down to not being able to make plays on the ball in coverage. It just never happened to him in games or training. Unless that changes, it’s hard to see him earning a starting role.

He needs to have a good side.

Ramon Henderson played it safe a lot after Hamilton dropped for the season. The former corner had one of the best defensive plays all season with his diving interception against Virginia and he is perhaps the most intriguing possibility to team up with Joseph as Henderson can cover better man-to-man than Brown or Griffith.

If Henderson wins the job in this camp, it would be great news for his development and great news for the defense.

A player I would have liked to see a bit more of this spring was Xavier Watts. He presents himself in a masterful way as a tackler on the perimeter. Some guys just have “it” when it comes to attacking downhill and taking aggressive angles. It falls into this category.

It’s the cover piece that we don’t know enough about yet. He had a few tough plays last season, but that’s to be expected for someone who went from receiver to safety over the course of the season. Now that he has a full spring under his belt, is he ready to make the jump to August?

JUstin Walters is a bit of a forgotten man at this position, with no one considering him to be in the mix to be a starter, but he shows up enough with a few plays to make sure everyone is aware he’s there. He will have to cause a sensation to break the two depths and jump the line on players with more experience.

There are four guys who played last year for Notre Dame plus Joseph, so there probably won’t be a ton of reps to go for other players who might get to safety. Even with that, you have to think about moving someone to start their long-term development.

The Irish haven’t taken a real safety in the 2022 recruiting class and they could lose three players for next year. It’s a fair assumption that even if we don’t see someone getting to safety during camp, they can start training there during the season. Black Notre Dame Executive Backpack


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