Notre Dame football: Five potential breakout players on defense in 2020

Notre Dame football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Notre Dame football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Notre Dame Football
Drew White (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

4. Drew White

After leading the Notre Dame football team in tackles last season with 80, an argument could be made that last season was a breakout season from Drew White. After all, in addition to the 80 total tackles, White also added two sacks, one pass deflection, and two fumble recoveries to what was an impressive stat line for the junior linebacker.

The numbers were a significant uptick for White, who managed only eight total tackles the previous year with the Irish.  Coming into last season, many questions swirled about the talent level of the Notre Dame linebacking corps. Those questions were put to bed early, as the group led by White, Asmar Bilal, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would go on to be arguably the strength of the Notre Dame defense in 2019.

Despite the high level of production in 2019, the former 3-star recruit out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, didn’t seem to become a household name in the same manner that some of his fellow linebackers did. In many ways, White was a quiet producer who didn’t do anything flashy, but at the end of the season managed to rack up impressive stat totals.

White suffered a broken ankle that derailed his freshman season and then suffered an injury to his AC joint in his shoulder during a spring break skiing accident before last season. As a result, most believed White wouldn’t be able to crack the starting lineup with Jack Lamb, Bo Bauer, and Shayne Simon being more likely candidates to start over White.

However, when it was all said and done, the hard work and determination of White in battling back from injury allowed him to secure a starting role as the MIKE linebacker for the Notre Dame football team. Once White became the starting MIKE linebacker, he would not relinquish the opportunity and would thrive in the role.

Given that White was forced to miss valuable preseason practices leading up to the 2019 season, it stands to reason that with a full offseason and the knowledge that he is firmly entrenched in the starting lineup, White may have just scratched the surface on what Irish fans can expect from him moving forward.