Names to Monitor on Defense
Was there anyone better in Week 1 than Kareem? Maybe Tillery? But regardless, he showed a power and speed rush dominance that Irish fans have been waiting for since Stephon Tuitt. That’s the exact name that popped into my head when watching the replay of Saturday’s game. With this being his first year as a starter, it would be nice to see him return for his senior season. However, if this play continues, Kareem could be seen as one of the premier pass rushers in 2019.
What a story Gilman would be if he becomes an NFL draft pick — and that looks to be his career trajectory. Gilman possesses instincts that are rare, and was tremendous against both the pass and run on Saturday. He even showed elite body control with his second quarter pass breakup in the end zone against a much bigger player.
Daelin Hayes and Asmar Bilal
I’m grouping these two together, because although neither showed up in the stat sheet as much as others, they both played their best games in an Irish uniform. Hayes and Bilal were forces against the run and pass last Saturday. They were constantly in the backfield, and even though neither ended up with a sack, their disruption was certainly noticeable.
Troy Pride Jr
Although the corners weren’t tested much against Michigan, we rarely heard Pride’s name. For a corner, that is exactly what you want. I still fully expect to see a breakout junior season from Pride, and his athletic traits are second to none in the Irish secondary.