The biggest question mark on Defense and maybe the team this year is the Secondary. Notre Dame only returns one starter this year in Strong Safety Zeke Motta. Coming off the best game in his career, Motta looks to become this year’s Harrison Smith. Motta has never missed a game in his career at Notre Dame. He started 16 of those 38 games. During that time, Motta tallied 102 tackles. Can he up his production this season? Last season, Smith had 90 tackles. Motta needs to be that type of player this season.
Starting next to Motta is jack-of-all-trades Jamoris Slaughter. Slaughter is probably the most intense and vocal leader for the Fighting Irish. He might be dynamic player that the Notre Dame team needs to turn turnovers into points. Slaughter should have a great season if he can avoid the injury bug that has plagued him during his career at Notre Dame. Between the Motta and Slaughter, Notre Dame should have an excellent back line of their defense.
Bennett Jackson might be the most NFL ready Cornerback that Notre Dame has had in recent memory. At 6’0” 185 and 4.3 speed, Jackson might be able to cover the players that Notre Dame has been unable in the past years. However, Jackson is inexperienced. Fans have been assuming that he will be ready to play. He should be. But, he will also make mistakes.
The biggest surprise of Fall Camp has been KeiVarae Russell. Russell moved from Running Back to Cornerback at the beginning of camp. Then, Russell did the most unexpected thing. Won the job. No one was expecting him to do anything and figured that the move was a stop gap measure. Can Russell compete with the big boys? This is the biggest question for the Notre Dame Defense this year.