You know what they say about assumptions or assuming, but in the long stretch between the end of the Cherry and White game and kickoff at Notre Dame, assuming can be a fun exercise.
We’ll assume this for now:
Notre Dame will see some Mayhem on September 3d when its offense approaches the line of scrimmage.
That’s because we can be relatively confident in the personnel that will line up on the defensive side of the ball.
Here is our fun list of starters for now, subject to change, mostly due to injury and coaching decisions and assuming a 5-2-4 defensive alignment:
DE-Sharif Finch, Jacob Martin
DT-Karamo Dioubate, Michael Dogbe
LB-Shaun Bradley, Jared Folks
CB—Mike Jones, Artel Foster
There are, of course, a lot of good defenders not listed there who are, what head coach Geoff Collins calls “above the line” and starters in his mind, even if they don’t line up on the first play of the first series. This is a two-deep defense when you consider guys like Greg Webb are available on the line and Benny Walls, Linwood Crump and Derrick Thomas in the secondary.
Your 2017 starters at DE?
There may be others we haven’t heard about because guys like Keith Kirkwood have spent some time as a pass rusher. If he’s anywhere near as good in that capacity as Romond Deloatch was the Owls will have something.
Right now, though, that group is pretty impressive.
At one end, the Owls will have a playmaker in Finch who started a game against Rutgers way back in 2013. He made in my mind the key play in the win over Penn State in 2015 as well. At the other end, you have a single-digit tough guy in Martin, who also had a sack against Penn State (who didn’t?).
At one of the DTs, you will have a guy in Dogbe who really came into his own at the end of last season as a starter and Dioubate, a guy who received a phone call from none other than Nick Saban the day he decided to keep his Temple commitment. He was too good to redshirt last season.
At one corner, Nate Hairston, a fifth-round NFL draft pick, will be replaced by a guy in Jones, who was projected by Mike Mayock as being “the steal of the 2017 late rounds” if he had declared this year. Jones declared for Temple, not the NFL, and probably will be a third round pick or better in the 2018 draft if he just duplicates the kind of success with the Owls that he had with North Carolina Central. If he succeeds it, watch out.
With Mayhem, and these guys creating it, anything is possible.
Friday: The True Legends
Monday: Wandering Eye