With all the accolades and attention already bestowed on Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt, you can forgive analysts and fans for neglecting another key piece of Notre Dame’s front seven: Sheldon Day. The sophmore defensive end enrolled early and developed enough to slide into the two deep depth chart behind veteran Kapron Lewis Moore. Day proved his worth, logging a sack against Michigan State and Michigan and finished the season with 23 tackles (13 solo) in limited minutes.
As a somewhat reserved young man, Day does not garner the attention of some of Notre Dame’s other young players. But his importance can not be overstated. If Nix and Tuitt enter the NFL draft Day will be the anchor on the defensive line in the years to come. Brian Kelly understands Day’s siginificance better than anyone, and told reporters that he would not trade Day for anybody else on the team. Maybe a little exaggerated, but Kelly made his point.
In 2013, Day slides into the starting defensive end spot vacated by Lewis-Moore. As offenses concentrate their effort on stopping Nix and Tuitt, expect Day to see a lot of one-on-one matchups that he can easily dominate. A bold prediction: Day finishes the season with more tackles and sacks than Nix.