The top 10 players returning to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Kyle Hamilton, S
2. Liam Eichenberg, T
3. Ade Ogundeji, DE
4. Julian Owusu-Koramoah, LB
5. TaRiq Bracy, CB
6. Ian Book, QB
7. Tommy Kraemer, G
8. Jarrett Patterson, C
9. Drew White, LB
10. Robert Hainsey, T
Honorable Mention: Aaron Brooks, G; Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, DI; Javon McKinley, WR
Hamilton is everything you want in a do-it-all safety. He plays the run very well, missed few tackles and absolutely excels in coverage. Just last year alone he had nearly 10 plays on the ball and fewer than 25 targeted passes come his way. That kind of coverage when he's the primary coverage defender is great for any player, let alone a roaming safety. He doesn't commit penalties and has speed to spare.
Hamilton truly is the complete package at safety, and he anchors a stout defense in 2020. Ogundeji rushes the passer extremely well and should absolutely see an uptick in total pressures and sacks in 2020 with the departures of Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem. That's a lot of pass-rushing snaps to see and Ogundeji should be the beneficiary. Owusu-Koramoah and White should also see more productive years after nearly matching each other with total tackles but the departure of Asmar Bilal freeing up more snaps at linebacker.
Then there's Bracy, who logged eight pass breakups compared to just 25 catches allowed in his coverage. He's a sure tackler in space as well and limits the YAC better than most cornerbacks in the country.
The offensive line should be the cornerstone of this unit, however, in 2020. All five returners return with a multitude of starts and snaps and Eichenberg is the best of the group. It's like splitting hairs for the second-best because they all do just about everything well but Eichenberg is hands down the best pass-blocker and run-blocker of the lot. Offensive line is NOT a question in 2020, but Ian Book is. He will certainly be kept clean at will in 2020 and that can no longer be an excuse. He must perform up to his top ability for this team to potentially make noise for the College Football Playoff.
It's there, he just has to harness it for 12 games.