Irish Depth Chart: Defense

Notes regarding Notre Dame's starters and key reserves for tonight's matchup vs. the rival Wolverines.

(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 Tony Springmann, 6'6" 300 pounds (4)
- Sophomore Chase Hounshell, 6'4" 275 pounds (3)
- Senior Tyler Stockton, 6'0" 285 pounds (2)

Notes: Lewis-Moore continues to battle a calf injury suffered in the first series of the Purdue contest. He started last Saturday night in East Lansing and finished the contest, playing among an heavily rotated group of defensive linemen. Neither Hounshell nor Stockton has played this season and neither made the trip to East Lansing. Sheldon Day and Tony Springmann (below) are the backup defensive ends in the rotation. Both recorded their first career sacks last weekend.

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 suffered a bone bruise to his knee last week in East Lansing. His playing status remains in question for this week's contest though head coach Brian Kelly noted Thursday post-practice that Day would be listed as 'Probable" in NFL parlance. 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 has extensively the last two weeks in both 3-4 (as a defensive end) and 4-3 (as a defensive tackle) fronts. Schwenke earned his first career start last week though Nix played the majority of the games snaps.

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: Williams began to play from a stand-up position at linebacker in the team's nickel defense last week after playing predominately a down (end) position previously. Both he and Shembo play the boundary linebacker spot when the team features a 3-4 front. Shembo receives the lion's share of work as an end in the 4-3 defense. Rabasa has yet to appear, he and safety Eilar Hardy the only red-shirt freshman to not accrue playing time this season.

DOG LINEBACKER:
- Junior Danny Spond, 6'3, 242 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Ben Councell, 6'5" 240 pounds (4)
- Freshman Romeo Okwara, 6'4 239 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Spond returned to action last week after missing most of August amp and the season's first two weeks due to migraines. He earned his first start, playing extensively as the field side linebacker in the 3-4 and also earning time in 4-3 alignments. Councell worked behind Spond last week, exclusively in 3-4 packages. Okwara continues to start on the Irish kick coverage and return 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. Neither Grace nor Moore has appeared from scrimmage since the blowout win over Navy though both start on multiple special teams.

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

Notes: Fox has started 16 consecutive games entering Saturday's contest while Calabrese has posted eight career starts as well, each as a redshirt-freshman in 2010.

BOUNDARY CORNERBACK:
- Junior Bennett Jackson, 6'0" 185 pounds (2)
- Sophomore Jalen Brown, 6'1" 199 pounds (4)
- Sophomore Josh Atkinson, 5'11" 185 pounds (3)
- Freshman Elijah Shumate, 6'2 200 pounds (4)

Notes: Jackson recorded the first two interceptions of his career two weeks ago vs. Purdue. Brown serves as Keivarae Russell's backup more often than in relief of Jackson, though with the recent addition of Atkinson to the rotation, the backup pair could settle in to field/boundary roles.

Shumate debuted as the team's nickel defender vs Purdue and starred in that spot Saturday vs. Michigan State, breaking up two passes and influencing another. Notre Dame has shown a nickel defense on 21 snaps over the last two games, making Shumate a regular contributor despite his listing above.

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

Notes: Russell has started the first three games of his Irish career -- the first true freshman cornerback to start the opener in program history (dating back to 1972 freshmen eligibility).

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)

Notes: Motta rarely leaves the field and is the only member of the secondary to start a game prior to this season. He's likewise the group's only starter that did not switch from the offensive side of the football during Brian Kelly's tenure. McCarthy is unlikely to play from scrimmage vs. the Wolverines but is a regular starter on the team's coverage units.

BOUNDARY SAFETY:
- Sophomore Matthias Farley, 5'11" 200 pounds (4)
- Senior Chris Salvi, 5'10" 190 pounds (1)
- Freshman C.J. Prosise, 6'2" 208 (4/5)

Notes: After starting at Dog linebacker in the opener vs. Navy (special to the opponent's triple-option offense) Farley played extensively in 5th-year senior Jamoris Slaughter's stead last Saturday in East Lansing, and also the previous week vs. Purdue. Slaughter is now out for the sea on after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the first defensive series of the second half against Michigan State.

A former walk-on awarded a scholarship prior to spring ball, Salvi is now an official member of the team's two-deep at safety. A high school safety, Prosise moves back to the defensive backfield after an August camp spent at Dog linebacker -- a move made to augment the position's depth in the wake of Spond's unknown (at the time) status.


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