Two Notre Dame football defenders got national honors on Monday after the Fighting Irish bowed up defensively against the Duke Blue Devils.
In the wake of the big comeback win against the Duke Bluedevils, a pair of Notre Dame football defenders are getting some much-needed recognition. While the Fighting Irish’ offense struggled without two of its top receivers, the defensive unit stepped up big time, especially when it mattered most.
There were plenty of players that stood out on that side of the ball. Xavier Watts had one pick and almost had two. Marist Liufau managed to get the linebacker corps a sack of the always-hard to wrangle Riley Leonard. But the defense line especially did the Golden Domers proud.
The first Irish defender to earn himself an honor on Monday is Howard Cross III. The defensive lineman was named the Senior Bowl defensive player of the week.
Cross got that honor thanks to 7 tackles, 3 assists, a sack and 4 quarterback hurries. In short, the man was a near-constant pain in the butt for the Duke offensive line.
While he got off to a bit of a slow start this season regarding getting to the quarterback, his performance against the ACC school is a continuation of his progression after a very good game against Ohio State.
Against the Buckeyes, he didn’t bring the quarterback down but he did get 4 hurries and a quarterback hit while collecting another 6 tackles.
Notre Dame football defender gets break out honor
The other Fighting Irish defensive lineman to get honored this week is Rylie Mills. Mills was named as the East-West Shrine Bowl Defensive Breakout Player of the Week.
Mills had 7 total tackles, including 6 solo stops. And while he didn’t sack the quarterback, he did have a hurry against Leonard.
The reason he’s considered a breakout star? His 6 solo tackles against Duke is more than he had entering the game for the entire season for Notre Dame football. You might recall that Mills was on the list of potential breakout stars for 2023. Perhaps he’s starting to do just that.