Sport Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
The ever-growing transfer portal took Notre Dame's expected backup center this spring. Enter Pat Coogan, an incoming freshman and lifelong Irish fan.WHY NO. 78? Coogan may not end up in the same digits he wore in high school, but for this exercise, there is no reason to speculate further than that. He wore No. 78 in high school and the number is available in South Bend.
Listed measurements: 6-foot ⅞, 275 pounds. 2021-22 year, eligibility: A junior, Cross still has all four seasons of his eligibility remaining after playing in only four games in 2019 and then being a beneficiary of the universal pandemic eligibility waiver in 2020. Depth chart: Notre Dame has a distinct starter at nose tackle in fifth-year Kurt Hinish, but the Irish value a rotation along the defensive line, particularly on the interior, and Cross will be one of two options to relieve Hinish along with junior Recruiting: . Despite a shoulder injury that was worrisome at the start of the pandemic, Cross has maintained better health and availability than Lacey, which could be the difference in remaining Hinish’s primary backup instead of the third piece of the rotation.A consensus four-star prospect, the Gatorade New Jersey Football Player of the Year chose Notre Dame over offers from a number of Big Ten and ACC programs, including Michigan, Northwestern and Boston College, to name a few typical Irish foes. The son of a former NFL tight end, Cross was rated the No. 27 defensive end in the class of 2019, per rivals.com.
How the top LB in the last 16 Notre Dame Football recruiting classes have fared
Two of the best that ever played the position at Notre Dame reside hereSo here we are... let’s do the linebackers. The top linebacker commit from each recruiting class since 2005 according to the 247 Composite rankings.
CAREER TO DATE After appearing in four games and making seven tackles as a freshman in 2019, Cross played in all 12 games in 2020 while backing up Hinish, making 13 tackles in doing so.
Lacey’s 2020 was a bit more altered by the coronavirus pandemic, putting Cross firmly into the No. 2 slot in the three-man rotation.
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QUOTE A backup nose tackle may not get much attention from the public, but Cross’ play garners attention and praise from Notre Dame’s coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of depth there (along the defensive line), across the board, inside-out,” Irish head coach said last month. “ is very difficult to defend. Great leverage, great first step quickness, very difficult to block.”
Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
Andrew Kristofic's eligibility clock has not started ticking, which could make the Notre Dame offensive lineman a notable example of 2020's effects.CAREER TO DATE Kristofic has appeared in eight games in his two years, four moments in each season, none of them competitive in nature.
Cross’ frame may not make for a ranging defensive tackle, and his wingspan is not particularly wide, but that same frame boasts a low center of gravity, and thus that great leverage.
“Howard Cross is just a dynamic accelerator,” defensive line coach Mike Elston said in mid-April. “Speed off the ball, low pad level, he finds ways into creases and gaps. He’s always in the backfield and he’s quick with his hands. He’s got good speed and really good agility. He’s been a load to block.
“He’s going to have a breakout season and I’m excited for him.”
Inside the Irish
2021 OUTLOOKCross’ height is not the mitigating trait it can be made out to be. Does it mean he is not as present in as many passing lanes? Absolutely. And he cannot reach out and cut off a running back out of nowhere.
Can Notre Dame win the national title? 'We don't have forever'
In the minutes after Notre Dame’s double-overtime upset of No. 1 Clemson in November, Kelly posed for a locker room group shot with athletic director Jack Swarbrick and school president Rev. John I. Jenkins. Kelly pointed out the picture recently when two conversations collided during a chat in his office — the recruitment of defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, and Notre Dame’s ability to navigate the final step under Kelly and win the program’s first national title since 1988. “It's a reminder for me that the three of us are committed and tied together in this window, that we all want to see the same thing happen,” Kelly said.
But Cross’ active abilities nonetheless make him a strong defensive tackle. He can absorb and maintain a block, the skill that first earned Hinish playing time back in 2017. And Cross’ strong hands allow him to shed those blocks when needing to get into the backfield.
In the backup role in the middle, Cross will still get plenty of action. He took 166 snaps in 2020, a number that should only rise with a year’s development and fewer overall uncertainties.
Realizing Cross took only 166 snaps in 2020, his effectiveness is clear. Making a tackle on nearly 8 percent of your plays is a sign of involvement. If he keeps to that rate, 2021 could include 20 or so tackles.
DOWN THE ROAD Hinish returning in 2021 was never expected. He will not be able to do so in 2022.
While Notre Dame is developing depth on the interior — sophomore will be the next vital addition to the nose tackle rotation — Cross should be the starter in 2022. In some ways, following Hinish set up Cross for success; the veteran is not exactly towering at 6-foot-1. The Irish know how to defend well with a nose tackle more dependent on tenacity than on height and length.
Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
Listed measurements: 6-foot-4 ½, 305 pounds. 2021-22 year, eligibility: A senior, Patterson has three seasons of eligibility remaining. Depth Chart: Once recovered from a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, Patterson will start on Notre Dame’s offensive line, though where is not yet firmly established. Regardless, he is the best offensive lineman on the roster; starting is not a question of if, but only of where. Recruiting: A rivals.com three-star prospect and longtime Arizona State commit, Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn made Patterson a priority when he moved into the assistant coaching role (previously an offensive analyst).
Hinish’s intensity may be impossible to match, but otherwise, Cross should be able to step right in for him next season and hold the starting gig for at least two years. His effectiveness in doing so will determine the effectiveness of new defensive coordinator . His defense relies on aggressiveness, and in order for that not to be a self-harming approach, the defensive line needs to be able to hold its own without additional blitzers. That begins with the nose tackle.
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NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
Could Notre Dame start a true freshman at left tackle in its season opener? Blake Fisher has made that a possibility, if not a likelihood.NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS That’s called style.
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Five old Notre Dame Football photos for a Friday — Commander Tommy Rees .
Bless your life with a little Reesus todayI suddenly ran into about a billion things this morning because of dad life — and had to fight my way back into the office to lay this out. Do you know who doesn’t have to fight a bunch of family members throwing loads of laundry, practice runs, lunch demands, etc.