The defense dominated the spring game, and these are the players that guided them to do so.
He tallied 8 total tackles and 1 tackle for loss in the Blue and Gold game. He really stood out to me, since Te’o is one of the bigger losses from last year’s team. The guy that is taking over Manti’s middle linebacker position isn’t going to have an easy time being compared to one of the greatest players in Notre Dame history. Grace was a 3 star linebacker out of Cincinnati, Ohio. After he arrived on campus it didn’t take coaches long to realize he will be much more than expected. He played in all 13 games last season and will compete with Calabrese and Fox for playing time inside. He looks much better in pass coverage than Calabrese, but Fox is decent against the pass. I expect Grace to play ever series and maybe even become a starter depending on how Fox and Calabrese perform.
The secondary was the inconsistency of the defense last season, but by only losing 1 piece of that puzzle they should be much improved in 2013. Zeke Motta has graduated and there is a safety position wide open for any takers. The guys competing for that job are Shumate, Baratti, and when he arrives, Redfield. Shumate is the leader in the competition for the starting spot after his performance in the spring game. He recorded 7 tackles and 1 pass breakup and looked aggressive and comfortable back behind the defense.
-Louis Nix III
The anchor, leader, and laid back nose tackle that will lead the defense this year. He looks quicker, stronger, and since that’s always good to hear when coming off an All-American season. He has put on weight, but he is still quick. Nix has his hand active more than before, which helps his pass rush and ability to shed blockers quicker. If he could add a consistent pass rushing ability to his game he would be kept in more often on 3rd down. Also, how can you not love him running the ball into the endzone for a two point conversion as a quarterback? Then seeing Kendall Moore (#8) spun out of the way of Nix on his way to the endzone.