Buck Linebackers: At the Buck linebacker position, it looks like a two-man race of Asmar Bilal and Jordan Genmark-Heath. It looks like Bilal should be the starter, as he is expected to slide over from the rover position to play the Buck. His main competition will come from Genmark-Heath, but as a fifth-year senior Bilal is expected to start if the reports are true that he does in fact slide over to the Buck linebacker position.
Bilal has been a very versatile and flexible player during his career at Notre Dame and he is proving that again by being willing to slide over to the Buck. Last season at the rover, Bilal racked up 50 tackles (19 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended and a fumble recovery. Bilal’s speed and positional intelligence is ultimately is what makes him so versatile and so valuable to this Notre Dame squad. Bilal coming back for a 5th year is huge for this linebacker core as he and Jonathan Jones are the only two seniors at the linebacker positions in 2019.
Jordan Genmark-Heath had an underwhelming first season at linebacker after his move from safety. The junior tallied 16 total tackles (9 solo) in 13 appearances last season. Heath will provide valuable depth behind Bilal and is expected to be a strong contributor on special teams as he has been in his freshman and sophomore seasons. JGH has immense athleticism that will make him very difficult to keep off the field.
A third player that could get into the mix at the Buck linebacker position is Drew White. The junior appeared in 4 games last season and had 8 total tackles (6 solo). White had a career-high 6 tackle game against Navy last season and is the type of player that can shut down the complicated triple-option that is Navy football. I would not be surprised to see White get the start or at least play most of the game against Navy in 2019 given his great performance last season.