Notre Dame football fans probably thought the best news they were going to get on Friday was that the Irish won 10 games and finished their season with a 40-8 victory over the Oregon State Beavers. It turns out there was one other really big piece of positive news.
Veteran defensive lineman Jordan Botelho announced that he’d be returning to Notre Dame football for the 2024 season. It will be his final year of college eligibility. It marks the latest defensive stud who will allow Al Golden to reload rather than rebuild from the 2023 campaign.
The announcement is also good news because there’s little doubt that Botelho has finally started coming into his own. The defender played sparingly from 2020-to-2022 but he broke out in 2023.
The veteran defender had career highs in tackles (32), solo tackles (18) and assisted tackles (14). He came close to also matching his career high in sacks as he had four this year. As a pass rush specialist last year he did get a half a sack more.
In the Sun Bowl win over the Beaves, Botelho continued to show that he that he was developing into one of the best defensive lineman on the team. He had 3 tackles a sack against Oregon State and was named the lineman of the game.
Notre Dame football welcoming back another defender
Botelho’s return marks what has been a steady streak of positive news for the Fighting Irish. In the month since the regular season ended and the Golden Domers’ played in their bowl game, they’ve added some serious weapons to a team that had plenty of talent already.
The positivity of keeping guys like Howard Cross III and Jack Kiser on defense and adding studs like Kris Mitchell, Riley Leonard and Beaux Collins on offense has Notre Dame football faithful thinking a trip to the playoffs in 2024 is in the cards.