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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Kyle Hamilton (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Starting at free safety for Notre Dame in 2020, the sophomore, Kyle Hamilton.

The former 5-star out of Georgia has proven to be one of the brightest young talents the Notre Dame defense has seen since Jaylon Smith. Hamilton shone brightly in limited playing time last season, but he will be ‘unchained’ this season and be ready to be a three-down safety.

Hamilton plays beyond his years and is consistently one of the smartest players on the field. The sophomore’s ability to read opposing quarterbacks is uncanny, and his natural instincts and size serve him very well at the free safety position.

Last season, Hamilton tallied 41 tackles, six passes defended, four interceptions, and one interception returned for a touchdown. When you consider Hamilton was not even a starter, your mind really starts to wonder the stats he could put up in a full season.

Irish Breakdown publisher Bryan Driskell knows X’s and O’s better than just about anyone on the Notre Dame beat, and he had this to say about the star safety:

“Hamilton is truly the total package as a modern-day safety. He’s incredibly rangy, which we saw throughout the 2019 season. His length, athleticism, and speed allow him to cover a lot of ground and to get to balls most can’t get to,” said Driskell.

“He’s also more than willing to fill the alley and mix it up in the run game. But what truly gives him a chance to be a star is that he combines intelligence and a strong work ethic with the traits that God gave him, and as he gains more experience he has a chance to be one of the best to ever play the position at Notre Dame.”

Big-time praise for the sophomore who will look to improve on a stellar 2019 campaign.

Filling in behind Hamilton at the free safety is junior, DJ Brown.

Brown has not received much playing time in his Notre Dame career. Last season could have potentially been his chance to shine, but Kyle Hamilton came in and stole the show. There is not much you can do about a guy who is picking off multiple passes each and every spring practice.

The Maryland product will have a chance to play more this season as the No.2 safety rather than being third or fourth as he was last season. He will definitely play more against the lesser competition on the 2020 schedule (Arkansas, Western Michigan, Georgia Tech), but he must impress in those opportunities if he wants to carve out a solid career at Notre Dame.

With Notre Dame recruiting the safety position well and bringing in big-time transfers such as Isaiah Pryor from Ohio State, Brown needs to get his feet under him quickly and start to become an impact contributor.