Depth Chart: Irish Defense

Junior linebacker Danny Spond

A look at Notre Dame's defensive starters and listing of backups available for tonight's contest in East Lansing.

(The number in parenthesis represents each player's remaining eligibility entering the 2012 season.)

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 left Saturday's win over Purdue during the game's first series with a calf injury and did not return. He was pronounced ready early this week. Hounshell and Stockton have yet to play this season; Stockton did not play in 2011.

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: Day will likely backup the left defensive end spot (listed above) as well. Jones is expected to redshirt in 2012.

NOSE GUARD:
- Junior Louis Nix, 6'3" 326 pounds (3)
- Junior Kona Schwenke, 6'4" 290 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Tony Springmann, 6'6" 300 pounds (4)

Notes: Springmann played extensively last week vs. Purdue and should see ample rotation time again, especially in 4-man defensive fronts.

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 both play extensively as defensive ends in the team's nickel and dime packages while Shembo has earned more snaps as an end in the team's 4-3 base defense preferred through two games this season. Rabasa has yet to appear, the only red-shirt freshman who has not accrued playing time this season.

DOG LINEBACKER:
- Sophomore Ben Councell, 6'5" 240 pounds (4) OR
- Junior Danny Spond, 6'3, 248 pounds (2)
- Freshman Romeo Okwara, 6'4 239 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Spond is expected back after missing half of August camp and the first two weeks of the season with migraine-related ailment. He practiced Tuesday for the first time during the 2012 regular season. Okwara is a member of the Irish kick return and coverage units.

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: Te'o remains on the field in both the nickel (5 defensive backs) and dime (6) defensive packages.

WILL LINEBACKER:
- Senior Dan Fox, 6'3" 240 pounds (2)
- Senior Carlo Calabrese, 6'1 255 pounds (2)

Notes: Calabrese returned from a one-game suspension last week and started in the team's base 4-3 defense, his first start since suffering a hamstring injury in Week Eight, 2010. Fox has started 15 consecutive games entering Saturday's contest.

BOUNDARY CORNERBACK:
- Junior Bennett Jackson, 6'0" 185 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Jalen Brown, 6'1" 199 pounds (4)
- Freshman Elijah Shumate, 6'2 200 pounds (4)

Notes: Jackson recorded the first two interceptions of his career last week vs. Purdue. Brown serves as Russell's backup more often than in relief of Jackson, though he's the No. 3 cornerback, regardless of boundary/field designation. Shumate debuted as the team's nickel defender last week, playing nine snaps against Purdue. He's unlikely to man either the field or boundary spot entering Week Three.

FIELD CORNERBACK:
- Freshman Keivarae Russell, 5'11" 182 pounds (4/5)
- Sophomore Jalen Brown, 6'1" 199 pounds (4)
- Sophomore Josh Atkinson, 5'11" 185 pounds (3)

Notes: Brown appears to be a in a rotation with Russell with the latter receiving the bulk of the duty. A starter on the kick and punt coverage units, Atkinson did not play from scrimmage last week vs. the Boilermakers.

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: Motta rarely leaves the field; McCarthy and Hardy are unlikely to play from scrimmage vs. the Spartans while Baratti could see a snap or two in dime packages pending game developments.

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

Notes: After starting at Dog linebacker in the opener vs. Navy (special to the opponent's triple-option offense) Farley played extensively in Slaughter's stead last Saturday after the latter left the game with a shoulder injury. Salvi is unlikely to play from scrimmage this week; he's a starter on both the kick and punt coverage units as well as the kick return team.

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