Oct 19, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Joe Schmidt (38) breaks up a pass intended for Southern California Trojans tight end Jalen Cope-Fitpatrick (88) in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeated USC 14-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Counting Down Notre Dame’s Starters: #19 Joe Schmidt

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This year, Notre Dame’s Football team will be one of the youngest that Brian Kelly has ever had at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are making slight adjustments on Offense and Defense. The Defense will likely operate with three Cornerbacks most of the time. Here are Notre Dame’s players ranked 1-22, continuing with #19:

19. Joe Schmidt – Senior – Linebacker

Schmidt may be one of the best stories of the 2014 football season, a former walk-on from Mater Dei High School turned starting Middle Linebacker at Notre Dame. Many people expected Schmidt to be knocked off by younger, more talented players like Michael Deeb. However, Schmidt held firm during spring football. The biggest question is: Will the 6’0″ 230 lbs Schmidt be able to stand up to pounding of a full 12 to 13 game season?

In 2012, Schmidt collected 6 tackles while playing on special teams. The following season with his role expanded, he tallied 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 very important pass break up against USC.

Schmidt will almost definitely start against Rice on August 30th. However, he may not be the starting Linebacker when Notre Dame travels to Southern Cal in late November. Nyles Morgan will push Schmidt hard in fall camp. Schmidt can provide solid, technically sound play. However, he cannot do anything spectacular that will change the face of the game like Manti Te’o did in 2012.

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