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Where Notre Dame football position groups appear in On3 unit rankings: Defense

IMG_9992by:Tyler Horka05/20/24


Notre Dame had the No. 5 total defense in the country in 2023. The Fighting Irish are expected to run it back to a pretty high degree in 2024, and On3’s Jesse Simonton knows it.

Simonton recently ranked the top 10 teams in college football at each position group. The Irish appeared in every set of defensive rankings. Below, you’ll find out where in addition to comments from Blue & Gold.

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Georgia
4. Oregon
5. Clemson
6. Ole Miss
7. Notre Dame
8. Florida State
9. Tennessee
10. Penn State
Best of the rest: Miami, Texas A&M, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Texas

Blue & Gold says…
Notre Dame brought back three of four starters from last year’s line — tackles Howard Cross III and Rylie Mills and end Jordan Botelho — and replaced the only subtraction, defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste, with a fellow graduate student with plenty of experience in Duke’s RJ Oben. This is a fringe top-five defensive line indeed.

1. Georgia
2. Iowa
3. Michigan
4. Oklahoma
5. Oklahoma State
6. Clemson
7. Alabama
8. Kentucky
9. Notre Dame
10. LSU
Best of the rest: Arizona, Auburn, Penn State and Oregon

Blue & Gold says…
This is a serious nod of high expectations for the Irish’s youth considering longtime starters JD Bertrand and Marist Liufau are in the NFL now. Jack Kiser stuck around, but his understudies — namely junior Jaylen Sneed, sophomore Drayk Bowen and freshman Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa — need to come through in a big way to back up this ranking.

1. Ohio State
2. Oregon
3. Iowa
4. Michigan
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
7. NC State
8. Georgia
9. Kentucky
10. Texas A&M
Best of the rest: Virginia Tech, Baylor, Penn State, Florida, Ole Miss

Blue & Gold says
Benjamin Morrison is one of the best in the country and it looks like Christian Gray is on his way toward knocking on that door. Jaden Mickey is a steady factor. Notre Dame has been rock solid at nickel over the years and it seems Jordan Clark will continue that trend. This ranking makes sense, even if depth beyond those core four is suspect.

SAFETY RANKINGS (Notre Dame No. 4)
1. Iowa
2. Ohio State
3. Georgia
4. Notre Dame
5. Penn State
6. USC
7. Iowa State
8. Oregon
9. Alabama
10. Texas
Best of the rest: Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Purdue, Texas A&M

Blue & Gold says…
A ton of respect for Xavier Watts here. Period. Notre Dame actually still has to answer who’s starting with Watts at safety, so No. 4 might be too generous. But if the answer (Northwestern transfer Rod Heard II? Sophomore Adon Shuler?) is of the A+ variety, the Irish definitely have top-five potential on the back end.

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