The Notre Dame football team should be elite on the defensive side of the ball in 2022, and these new faces are going to dominate in Year 1 in South Bend.
Marcus Freeman is taking over as head coach of the Notre Dame football team this season, after serving as the defensive coordinator in 2021. Of course, he did step in as interim head coach when Brian Kelly bolted for LSU, but this will be his first real season at the helm, and expectations are high.
With serious questions on offense, including whether or not Jarrett Patterson will even be ready by the opener, the Irish will have to lean on the defense early. Luckily for Notre Dame, they have some exciting new players on that side of the ball.
Notre Dame football: New defensive faces that will dominate in 2022
Starting in the secondary, the addition of Brandon Joseph could not have come at a better time, as he fills the shoes left by All-American Kyle Hamilton. Joseph has been as good as advertised this summer and has taken on a leadership role, so the expectations are that he could put in an All-American season as well, much like he did two years ago.
Notre Dame is likely to have a solid defensive backfield despite the loss of Hamilton, as Cam Hart is a potential star, Clarence Lewis looks stronger, and some true freshmen cornerbacks are making an impact. However, for this unit to run efficiently, Joseph has to be the guy.
One new face that has been turning heads this fall is Chris Smith, a big defensive tackle who was All-Ivy League this past season. Coming to the Irish as a graduate transfer, Smith has the size and strength to be a real player in the middle of this Notre Dame defensive line, something they will need if they are going to knock off Ohio State in Week 1.
True freshman Jaylen Sneed was one of the top recruits brought in via the 2022 recruiting class, and he has taken a step forward this summer. Sneed is someone who is rocketing up the depth chart, and based on Freeman’s ability to coach up the linebackers, he is in a perfect spot to be a dominant player in South Bend for years to come.
The Notre Dame football program suffered a devastating loss with Avery Davis being out for the year and are now turning to a true sophomore as WR1.
Notre Dame football figures to be one of the best teams in the country this season and is ranked No. 5 by the AP Poll going into the 2022 campaign. The defense has the talent to be a special group this season, and these three newcomers are likely to make significant impacts.