Irish Depth Chart: Defense and ST

A review of Notre Dame's starters and key reserves for today's contest against Michigan State including two regulars likely to miss the contest.

Irish Defense

Junior Defensive End #7 Stephon Tuitt : Recorded a sack, forced a fumble, and registered four tackles (one for loss) and an additional quarterback hurry in last September's humbling of Michigan State in East Lansing.

Sophomore Defensive End #91 Sheldon Day: Put forth the most productive game of his true freshman season last fall vs. the Spartans, registering a tackle-for-loss, pass breakup, and sack, the latter pair occurring back-to-back in the second quarter when Michigan State threatened in Irish territory. Will be a game-time decision Saturday after suffering a high ankle sprain late in last Saturday's contest at Purdue...
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Senior Nose Guard/Defensive End #96 Kona Schwenke: Ranks as the first defensive lineman off the bench for 2013 Irish and will likely start and earn the lion's share of snaps at end should Day be limited or deemed out.

Senior Nose Guard #1 Louis Nix: Had a season-high five tackles in last season's 20-3 win at MSU.

Senior Boundary Linebacker #55 Prince Shembo: Recorded nine tackles including two for loss, a sack, and two QB hurries last year vs. Michigan State. Has 10 tackles, six QB hurries, but no sacks yet this fall.

Freshman Drop Linebacker #9 Jaylon Smith: Has seven tackles including one for lost yardage along with a pass defended through his first three collegiate contests.

5th-Year Senior Mike Linebacker #48 Dan Fox: Leads the team with 24 total tackles including two for loss entering Week Four.

5th-year Senior Will Linebacker #44 Carlo Calabrese: Leads the Irish with three tackles for loss while ranking third in total tackles, 18.

Senior Boundary Cornerback #2 Bennett Jackson: Scored the first touchdown of his Irish career last week in West Lafayette, a 32-yard interception return that gave Notre Dame much-needed breathing room, 31-17 in a 31-24 win.

Sophomore Field Cornerback #6 Keivarae Russell: Has committed a pass interference penalty in consecutive weeks on third down to extend an opponent's scoring drive. Russell has 8 tackles and a pass defended (in the end zone) this season.

Senior Boundary Cornerback #41 Matthias Farley: Has posted 13 tackles including one for loss with two pass breakups this season. Missed a pair of tackles that led to two touchdowns in last week's win over Purdue.

Senior Field Safety #28 Austin Collinsworth: Made his first career start in opener vs. Temple. His quarterback hit/pressure results in a defensive touchdown for the Irish late in last week's comeback attempt at Michigan. Collinsworth has carved a niche as a blitzing linebacker in the team's dime package.

Key Reserves to Watch

Junior Boundary Linebacker #11 Ishaq Williams: Recorded a crucial third-down sack in Ann Arbor and added a key QB pressure last week in West Lafayette to end the Boilermakers final threat of the evening. Williams has played outside linebacker, inside linebacker (as a spy on opposing quarterbacks) and both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive end over the last three weeks.

Junior Mike Linebacker #59 Jarrett Grace: Rotates heavily as a mike linebacker in the base defense (playing more snaps than starter Dan Fox last week) and also part of three-man substitution package along with Ishaq Williams and Cole Luke in the nickel and dime sets. Led the team with 10 tackles at Purdue.

Sophomore Field Safety #22 Elijah Shumate: Played his best game of the season two weeks ago vs. Michigan, the highlight a fourth-quarter tackle-for-loss vs. quarterback Devin Gardner. Was used sparingly vs. the Boilermakers last Saturday as Collinsworth shined.

Junior Drop Linebacker #30 Ben Councell: Rotates behind Jaylon Smith to bring a physical presence to the "Dog" 'backer position.

Freshman Boundary/Nickel Cornerback #36 Cole Luke: Serves as the team's nickel and dime cornerback. Was involved heavily last week with a third-down pass interference, a third-down break-up, a third-down tackle after Purdue gained first down yardage at his expense, and later, a combined stop well short of the marker after excellent coverage on 3rd and 7.

Senior Field Cornerback #23 Lo Wood: Not expected to play Saturday due to a sprained ankle. True freshman cornerback #12 Devin Butler should see first-half rotation time in his stead.

Sophomore Defensive End #94 Jarron Jones: Blocked an extra point in his collegiate debut vs. Temple. Could play the most snaps of his career this week if Day is unable to compete at defensive end.

Freshman Defensive End #90 Isaac Rochell: Made his collegiate debut vs. Temple and recorded three stops. Did not appear vs. the Wolverines but rotated in both halves at Purdue last week.

Junior Boundary Safety #16 Eilar Hardy: Made his collegiate debut from scrimmage at Michigan after missing 2011 with a torn ACL and not appearing (coaches decision) last season. Hardy was suspended for last week's game in West Lafayette due to a violation of team rules.

Specialists

Junior Kicker/Punter #27 Kyle Brindza: Has recorded 10 touchbacks in 18 kickoffs, averaged 39.5 yards per punt, and booted true four of five field goal attempts including four straight.

5th-year senior Punter #98 Alex Wulfeck: Graduate from Wake Forest made his Irish debut last week, recording a 38-yard punt to the Purdue 17-yard line.

Sophomore Long-snapper #60 Scott Daly: Will play in his fourth collegiate contest tonight.

Senior Holder #14 Luke Massa: Also serves as the team's emergency quarterback.

Junior Kick-off Returner #4 George Atkinson: Has helped the Irish place 12th nationally in kickoff return average to date (29.38 with a long of 50).

Junior Kick-off Returner #33 Cam McDaniel: Is the "up-back" on kickoffs in front of Atkinson.

Senior Punt Returner #7 T.J. Jones: Just five yards shy of Notre Dame's team punt return yardage total (46) from all of 2012 and seven shy of the team's total from 2013 (48 -- 41 of which came on one bowl game return by Michael Floyd). Recorded mental error last wee, fielding a fair-catch at his own 4-yard line.


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