Notre Dame Football: Top 5 Impact Freshman

6 of 6

Apr 18, 2015; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght signals to his players in the second quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football: Impact Freshman #1 – DT Jerry Tillery

It’s easy to forget that Jerry Tillery is a Freshman. Since he enrolled early, fans and media members were not discussing his performance during fall practice. But, he is in line to be the starter at the Nose Guard position following the injury to Jarron Jones.

Tillery hails from Shreveport, Louisiana where he played for Evangel Christian Academy. He was originally recruited to play Offensive Tackle, where he was rated extremely high. The 247Sports Composite, a collection of all recruiting rankings, listed him as the 158th best player in the country. It also ranked him as the 11th best Offensive Tackle in the 2015 class.

When news surfaced that Tillery would move to the interior of the Defensive Line, many believed that the move was temporary and that he would return to the Offensive Line in the near future. However, he demonstrated next level ability at the Nose Guard position.

Tillery would have played regardless of whether or not Jarron Jones was injured. His role now expands as he prepares to start against the Texas Longhorns on September 5th. The 2015 Notre Dame Defense may sink or swim depending on the play of Freshman Jerry Tillery.