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
Kyle Hamilton(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

2. Kyle Hamilton

The Notre Dame football team took a massive hit at safety when both of their starting safeties, Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott, both of whom went to the NFL following the season. However, that blow is softened by the fact that the Irish still have one of the best safeties in college football in sophomore Kyle Hamilton.

Last year, Hamilton played in every game as a true freshman for the Irish. He would be seventh on the team in total tackles with 27, he would lead the team in interceptions with four, ranked second on the team with six pass deflections, and would score a defensive touchdown on one of his interceptions.

The numbers that Hamilton was able to produce were exceptional given the fact that he was only a true freshman. They were even more impressive given that he wasn’t a starter and primarily played as a nickel safety and in different sub-packages for Clark Lea’s defense.

Last season, Hamilton graded out as one of the best safeties in the country in pass defense according to PFF. Incredibly, Hamilton only allowed a meager seven catches to opposing receivers in 2019.

A former 5-star recruit, Hamilton has drawn strong praise from head coach Brian Kelly, who is known for tempering the expectations of players, especially young players. His exceptional freshman season showed why he was so highly recruited and exhibited why he is expected to be an integral part of the Notre Dame defensive unit for years to come.

Despite the fact that the Notre Dame defensive backfield lost Gilman, Elliott, and Troy Pride Jr., the 2020 defensive backfield is expected to be extremely tough to match up against, with the sophomore Hamilton leading a group that includes returning starting cornerback Shaun Crawford, transfers Nick McLoud and Isaiah Prior, as well as talented players such as Houston Griffith and Tariq Bracy, who are all expected to have significant roles in the defensive backfield for the Irish.

Hamilton is expected to be the key contributor in the defensive backfield. Which position he will start at is yet to be determined. However, regardless of what position he plays, Hamilton is expected to receive a significant boost in playing time, which should result in increased production in stats after an already impressive freshman campaign.

With only a year of playing time under his belt, Kyle Hamilton already has the makings of a superstar player for the Notre Dame football team. It is tough to remember a player with this much hype surrounding him at such an early stage of his Notre Dame career.

With a year of experience on his resume and an increase in playing time, there is an excellent likelihood that Kyle Hamilton becomes a household name in college football beginning this season.