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
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

1. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

I know what you are probably saying right now….”why is JOK on a list of potential breakouts? He broke out last year!”.  That statement is one hundred percent correct, as Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah burst onto the scene for the Notre Dame football team in a major way in 2019.

As previously mentioned when discussing Drew White, there was a great deal of uncertainty around how the inexperienced young linebacker corps of the Irish would perform coming into the 2019 season. The group of linebackers certainly had talent, but the lack of experience was concerning.

That concern dissipated very early on thanks to the excellent play of White, Owusu-Koramoah, and Bilal. No Notre Dame linebacker made a larger leap forward than Owusu-Koramoah, who would finish tied for second on the team with 79 total tackles, first on the team with eight and a half sacks, fifth on the team in pass deflections with four, and tied for fourth on the team with two forced fumbles.

As a result of his impressive sophomore season, the former 3-star recruit has entrenched himself not only as a starter for the Notre Dame defense but also as a potential first-round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

While Brian Kelly and Clark Lea would likely welcome a repeat performance from Owusu-Koramoah, it stands to reason that his statistics in the upcoming season could potentially be even better given that he now has a year of experience in the Rover position and should be a focal point for Lea’s defensive playcalling.

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If Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is able to improve upon his impressive sophomore campaign, it is highly likely that he hears his name called early on in the first round of next year’s NFL Draft. It also stands to reason that if he improves upon last year’s performance, the Notre Dame defense could be significantly better in 2020.