Notre Dame Football: 5 Position Battles To Watch During Fall Camp

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Jul 3, 2013; Beaverton, OR, USA; Linebacker Nyles Morgan (5) looks over for a play call from the bench during the Nike 7on7 elimination play at Nike World Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

2. Joe Schmidt vs. Jarrett Grace vs. Nyles Morgan

The Linebacker position may be the weakest position for the Fighting Irish in 2014. The battle for the Mike Linebacker position has been a point of contention since Spring Practice. Everyone expected former walk-on Senior Linebacker Joe Schmidt to be dethroned from his starting slot. But, Schmidt has held fast.

Schmidt, a Senior for Orange, California, played in all 13 games last season. This contributions were made mainly on special teams and in sub-packages. Schmidt came up big with a pass break-up against USC late in the ball game. Despite a great deal of doubt, Schmidt held on to his Middle Linebacker position this spring.

The challengers for the position are limited. Jarrett Grace would be a legitimate candidate for the spot if he was 100% healthy. But, based on all media reports, it remains clear that he is not ready to make a big impact. Doug Randolph and Michael Deeb may push for additional playing time. However, both players have yet to show themselves as a major factors.

Many expect Nyles Morgan to play immediately at the Middle Linebacker position. Coaches recruited Morgan heavily. Recruiting services rated him very high. Morgan possesses the physical tools to play right away. But, the mental strain of playing college football cannot be underestimated.

Fans should not doubt Schmidt’s ability. Despite his lack of high school accolades and size, Schmidt is a smart and quick football player who should make a lot of plays for the Fighting Irish in the fall.