Notre Dame Football: Irish Have Good But Young Linebacking Core


Notre Dame football has one of the best linebacking cores in the NCAA, but also one of the youngest.

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Much has been written about the Fighting Irish defense since Mike Elko became the defensive coordinator a few months ago. There was publicity about his 4-2-5 defense. This defense will have two linebackers and a rover (hybrid linebacker/safety). The starters for those positions will probably be Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini or Te’von Coney. We will look at young Notre Dame linebackers who may be able to find playing time this season and have an impact.

The linebackers are sophomore Jamir Jones, redshirt sophomore Josh Barajas, red-shirt freshman Jonathan Jones and true freshman David Adams.

Jamir Jones is the brother of recent Notre Dame defensive tackle Jarron Jones. Like his brother, Jamir played at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York. He was a three-star recruit, who played linebacker, tight end and some quarterback! Jamir came to Notre Dame weighing 215 lbs. but today he weighs 245 lbs. He played on special teams last season where he had seven tackles in 10 games. What Notre Dame fans must remember about Jamir is that he is very athletic and moves very well for his size. He is also the type that may be able to play some defensive end in passing situations.

Josh Barajas is a redshirt sophomore who is 6’ 3’’ 225 lbs. He was a four-star recruit from Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana. Josh has been a real mystery at Notre Dame. He was recruited with Te’von Coney and Asmar Bilal and was ranked higher than both. Unfortunately, he has not seen much playing time. We will find out at the end of summer camp whether he will be a viable option at linebacker this season.

Jonathan Jones (no relation to Jamir) is from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Florida. He was a three- star recruit, who would have been a four-star except for his height. He is 6’0” tall. His scholarship offers belittle his three-star rating as he chose Notre Dame over Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Michigan and others. He is known as a great leader who is solid in his fundamentals. He has very good speed and plays well in pass coverage.

The last of the newcomers is David Adams. He is 6’2’ 225 lbs. from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. He was a four-star recruit by all recruiting websites, and he choose Notre Dame over LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Stanford, Pitt and Penn St. among others. He has great athleticism and uses his hands well in taking on blockers. He takes excellent angles when tackling. He is also a high character kid.

It will be very interesting to see how these four players progress once summer camp ends. Jamir Jones provides the most size of the four, and he is very athletic. He may even put his hand on the ground in certain situations.

Jonathan Jones is probably the hardest hitter of this group. With his speed in pass coverage, he may at some point play on passing downs. Josh Barajas provides the most intrigue as he could break out this season with his great ability or remain an after-thought on the defensive two-deep. David Adams playing time may be determined by how well the other three progress. If one or two find a lot of playing time, it may be good to red-shirt David.

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It will be fun for Fighting Irish fans to watch these four players this summer. Maybe there will be a big surprise or two.