Projected Depth Chart: Defense

Publisher
Posted Aug 23, 2012


Notre Dame's returning defensive players have accounted for more than 2,000 snaps during the Brian Kelly era. That level of experience hasn't stopped an influx of new talent from breeching the two-deep depth chart as the Irish prepare for the season opener vs. Navy.

Click here for the projected offensive depth chart.

Defensive End:
- 5th-year senior Kapron Lewis-Moore, 6'4" 306 pounds (1)
- Sophomore Chase Hounshell, 6'4" 275 pounds (3)
- Senior Tyler Stockton, 6'0" 285 pounds (2)
- Notes: Lewis-Moore will likely start at left defensive end with Stephon Tuitt (below) on the right side. Regardless, defensive line coach Mike Elston noted that the first four defensive ends can switch sides with no problem. Lewis-Moore has predominately played the right side from 2009-2011. Stockton will likely work with the Scout Team again this fall.

Defensive End:
- Sophomore Stephon Tuitt, 6'6" 303 pounds (3)
- Freshman Sheldon Day, 6'2" 286 pounds (4/5)
- Freshman Jarron Jones, 6'5" 299 pounds (4/5)
- Notes: Jones is unlikely to play this season while both Day and Chase Hounshell (above) should see ample time.

Nose Guard:
- Junior Kona Schwenke, 6'4" 290 pounds (2) or
- Junior Louis Nix, 6'3" 326 pounds (3)
- Sophomore Tony Springmann, 6'6" 300 pounds (4)
Notes: Schwenke will debut this season with a wrap/cast on his hand, courtesy a cracked bone. Springmann did not play last season and endured back surgery in the winter. He is at present the 7th man in what is expected to be a heavy 6-man rotation, though he'll see time as well.

Cat Linebacker:
- Junior Prince Shembo, 6'2" 250 pounds, (2)
- Sophomore Ishaq Williams, 6'5" 255 pounds (3)
- Sophomore Anthony Rabasa, 6'3" 240 pounds (4)
- Notes: Shembo and Williams are expected to rotate heavily in the base defense with both switching to defensive end positions when the front shows a four-down alignment in nickel and/or dime packages. Rabasa worked inside last year but was recruited for the Cat position.

Dog Linebacker:
- Sophomore Ben Councell, 6'5" 240 pounds (4)
- Freshman Romeo Okwara, 6'4 239 pounds (4/5)
- Freshman C.J. Prosise, 6'2, 208 pounds (4/5)
- Junior Danny Spond, 6'3" 248 pounds (2)
- Notes: Spond's status remains in doubt following a severe migraine problem that resulted in August hospitalization. The junior appeared to be the front-runner for the starting job prior to the malady. The position often cedes its spot on the field in nickel packages in favor of a third safety, last season, Jamoris Slaughter. Prosise was moved from safety to outside linebacker in early August.

Mike Linebacker:
- Senior Manti Te'o, 6'2" 255 pounds (1)
- Sophomore Jarrett Grace, 6'3" 240 pounds (4)
- Junior Kendall Moore, 6'1" 242 pounds (3)
- Notes: Grace pulled ahead of Moore during the spring and from most accounts, has held that lead. Te'o called Grace, "the next big thing," in an August interview with Irisheyes.com.

Will Linebacker:
- Senior Dan Fox, 6'3" 240 pounds (2)
- Senior Carlo Calabrese, 6'1" 245 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Joe Schmidt, 6'0" 230 pounds (4)
- Notes: Calabrese is suspended for the season opener in Dublin. He rotated heavily with Fox last fall though Fox started each of the team's 13 games. Schmidt made the travel squad as a true freshman preferred walk-on last fall.

Boundary Cornerback:
- Junior Bennett Jackson, 6'0" 185 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Jalen Brown, 6'1" 199 pounds (4)
- Sophomore Josh Atkinson, 5'9" 180 pounds (3)
- Notes: Both Brown and Atkinson will be evaluated at the field cornerback spot over the coming weeks. Brown is the only member of the group yet to see the field; Atkinson played primarily special teams for Notre Dame's final seven games last fall.

Field Cornerback:
- Freshman Keivarae Russell, 5'11" 182 pounds (4/5) or
- Sophomore Jalen Brown, 6'1" 199 pounds (4) or
- Sophomore Josh Atkinson, 5'9" 180 pounds (3)
- Freshman Elijah Shumate, 6'0" 198 pounds (4/5)
- Notes: Projected starter Lo Wood was scheduled for surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon yesterday. A junior, Wood will have two seasons of eligibility remaining upon his return for the 2013 season. A converted high school running back, Russell's status is assumed at press time, just two days after Wood's injury occurred. Shumate was moved from safety to cornerback early in camp.

Field Safety:
- Senior Zeke Motta, 6'2" 215 pounds (1)
- Freshman Nicky Baratti, 6'1" 206 pounds (4/5)
- 5th-year senior Dan McCarthy, 6'2" 205 pounds (1)
- Sophomore Eilar Hardy, 5'11" 185 pounds (4)
- Notes: Hardy tore his ACL in August 2011 and will likely be much closer to full strength as the season progresses or into spring ball 2013. Expect special teams action from the outset for the red-shirt freshman, and true freshman Baratti, whose ascension to No. 2 on the depth chart served as an August surprise.

Boundary Safety:
- 5th-year senior Jamoris Slaughter, 6'0" 200 pounds (1)
- Sophomore Matthias Farley, 5'11" 200 pounds (4)
- Senior Chris Salvi, 5'10" 190 pounds
- Freshman John Turner, 6'2" 207 pounds (4/5)
- Freshman Chris Badger, 6'0" 193 pounds (4)
- Notes: Farley's mid-camp surge took him from Scout Team slot receiver (fall 2011) to likely weekly contributor. Turner impressed early in camp but is a likely redshirt candidate at present; Badger enrolled in January 2010 for spring practice before embarking on a two-year religious mission to Ecuador. He'll likely fill several Scout Team roles in this, his true freshman season. Salvi, a three-year contributing walk-on, received a scholarship in the off-season.



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