Throughout the spring and summer there was no shortage of uncertainty surrounding the start of Brian Kelly’s 3rd season; the same held true for Jr. linebacker, Danny Spond.
As the season drew closer, concern for Spond grew as he battled severe migraines. With his college football career hanging in the balance, he fought alongside his doctors trying to find an answer. As news of Danny’s condition was released, we learned for a period of time he was unable to move the left side of his body; starting rumors that Spond had suffered a stroke. Fortunately, he did not suffer a stroke, doctor’s diagnosed Spond with severe migraines and were able to help get the pain under control. Once Spond was pain free and cleared to play, he slowly started working himself into the defensive game plan, soon becoming an important part of an elite defense.
Spond missed the first 2 games of the year, but didn’t waste any time making his presence known against Michigan State. At the time, Michigan State was ranked 10th in the country and LaVeon Bell was wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. Spond stepped up in the first big test of the year and helped the Irish defense shut down the Spartan offense; recording 4 tackles. Spond continued his consistent play and highlighted his athleticism in pass coverage. Spond had the game clinching interception against BYU and had arguably his best game of the year against Oklahoma the following week. The Sooner passing attack was one of the best in the nation this season and Spond played a key role in allowing the young Irish corners to play off the line of scrimmage; keeping the Sooner receiving core in from making any game changing plays.
Danny could have allowed his scare this summer to keep him from returning to form, but he obviously didn’t let it affect him. Against Alabama, Spond’s presence patrolling outside the hash marks will be key against the Crimson Tide athleticism on the edge. Bama loves to run screens with their receivers and having an athletic defensive presence like Danny Spond and Prince Shembo at OLB, allows Te’o, Fox and Calabrese to stay honest up the middle against Alabama’s powerful run game. Spond will need to continue his consistent play if the Irish expect to add 2013 to their National Championship banner.