Notre Dame Football: A look at the safety position in 2020

Kyle Hamilton(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Kyle Hamilton(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Houston Griffith(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After losing both starting safeties to the NFL, how does the Notre Dame secondary rebound? Who will be the difference makers at safety this season?

As expected, Notre Dame lost both of their starters at safety when Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott to the NFL draft this past week.

There was an outside chance that Gilman would stay for a fifth year at Notre Dame, but the Hawaiian made it very clear when he transferred from Navy that he wanted to play in the NFL, and now he is getting his opportunity after he was drafted in the sixth round by the Chargers.

Gilman and Elliott were pivotal in how well the Notre Dame defense has played over the past two seasons. The two formed a great partnership and manned the back half of the Notre Dame secondary.

In his two seasons at Notre Dame, Gilman was everything you could ask for out of a safety, and more. Hard-hitting, instinctive, quick, and a playmaker. When the Irish defense needed a turnover or a big play to change the momentum of the game, Gilman was always there to make something happen.

Tallying over 160 tackles, as well as five forced fumbles and three interceptions, Gilman truly did it all at safety.

As for Gilman’s partner-in-crime, Jalen Elliott did a lot of the dirty work that does not get talked about as much. Elliott was not as flashy and not nearly as hard of a hitter as Gilman, but he was much more of a sure-tackler, something that often gets overlooked.

In Elliott’s four year career in South Bend, he tallied 167 tackles, 11 passes defended, six interceptions, a forced fumble, and 0.5 sacks. Those numbers are pretty substantial for a safety, who was often overshadowed by Gilman.

Now, let’s take a look at who Notre Dame has returning at the safety positions and who will fill the shoes of these former Irish greats.