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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Notre Dame football
Isaiah Pryor(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Starting at strong safety for the Notre Dame defense in 2020, the junior, Houston Griffith.

While there has been a ton of hype surrounding the aforementioned Ohio State transfer, Isaiah Pryor, Griffith is the better safety and will be starting week one against Navy,

Brought in as one of the higher-rated secondary pieces Notre Dame has had in some time along with Kyle Hamilton, Griffith has not quite found his footing in South Bend just yet. Originally recruited as a corner, the position he played in high school, Griffith has moved back and forth from corner and safety but has not excelled at either.

2020 is Griffith’s time to shine, and he should be ready to do so. After playing a good amount in 2018 then hardly at all last season, Griffith had time to perfect his craft and learn from some of the best to do it in a Notre Dame uniform, Gilman, and Elliott.

Expect Griffith to excel next to Hamilton, but if he does not play well in the first few weeks, expect the next guy on this list to potentially take his spot.

That player is Isaiah Pryor.

Pryor comes into Notre Dame eager to fight for playing time, something he did not receive much of at his prior school, Ohio State. That is not a knock on Hamilton, but more of a credit to ‘DB U’ as the Buckeyes regularly put safeties and corners into the NFL.

Standing at 6’2″ and 210-pounds, Pryor brings some size and strength to the strong safety position. The Florida product almost looks too big to be a safety but plays the position very well. There have been rumors of him potentially moving to BUCK linebacker, but he is a safety as of now.

Expect Pryor to be the No.3 safety and earn plenty of playing time, similar to the role Hamilton played next to Gilman and Elliott last season.

Third, on the strong safety depth chart is Litchfield Ajavon.

Ajavon has flashed a few times in practice and has potential, but is not ready to be an every-down safety just yet in his young career.

The Virginia product has a future ahead of him at Notre Dame but with the competition above him, Ajavon’s time has not yet come. Ajavon redshirted last season, giving him eligibility until the 2024 season, so there is plenty of time for him to get comfortable at safety and earn playing time.

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Expect to see Ajavon used heavily on special teams this season, and be used occasionally as a rotational player at strong safety.