Junior Defensive End #7 Stephon Tuitt: Has 19 career sacks and needs six more to set the program's all-time record (dating to 1982) over the final six contests.
Sophomore Defensive End #91 Sheldon Day: Returned to the field last week in a win over USC after missing previous three games with a high ankle sprain.
Senior Boundary Linebacker #55 Prince Shembo: Is tied for the team lead with 9 QB hurries this season though five occurred in the opener vs. Temple. Expect Shembo to play as a 4-3 defensive end today in an effort to combat the Falcons option attack.
Freshman Drop Linebacker #9 Jaylon Smith: Has posted 13 tackles including 2.5 for loss with an interception over the last two games.
5th-Year Senior Mike Linebacker #48 Dan Fox: Posted five tackles last week vs. USC in his first start since September 15 at Purdue. Fox regained his starting job due to a season-ending leg injury suffered by his replacement Jarrett Grace. The 5th-year senior has an interception touchdown, a fumble recovery and 12 tackles in his art two outings.
5th-year Senior Will Linebacker #44 Carlo Calabrese: Leads the team with 48 tackles and ranks second behind Stephon Tuitt (6.5) with five TFL.
Senior Boundary Cornerback #2 Bennett Jackson: Has four tackles for loss due largely to his work as a boundary-side blitzer off the edge. Ranks second in total tackles with 42 and along with Stephon Tuitt and Jaylon Smith, is one of three Irish defenders to both force a fumble and intercept a pass this season.
Sophomore Field Cornerback #6 Keivarae Russell: Leads the team with five passes defended this season.
Senior Boundary Cornerback #41 Matthias Farley: Regained his starting role last week due to a hamstring strain suffered by sophomore Elijah Shumate (who will dress today but only play in an emergency situation).
Senior Field Safety #28 Austin Collinsworth: Has 19 tackles and two quarterback hurries this fall, one of which led directly to an interception touchdown by Stephon Tuitt at Michigan. 13 of Collinsworth's tackles have occurred over the last three games (all starts).
Key Reserves to Watch
Junior Boundary Linebacker #11 Ishaq Williams: Drew two holding calls vs. USC as a pass-rushing lineman in the team's dime package (4 DL, 1 LB, 6 DB).
Freshman boundary cornerback #12 Devin Butler: Earned a two-deep role over the last four games after an ankle injury briefly limited senior Lo Wood. Butler also appears from scrimmage in the team's surging dime (six defensive back) package.
Freshman Boundary/Nickel Cornerback #36 Cole Luke: Serves as the team's nickel and dime cornerback and is technically the No. 2 field cornerback backing up Russell.
Junior Inside Linebacker #38 Joe Schmidt: Former preferred walk-on earned scholarship in the off-season and is a starter on kickoff, punt coverage and now serves as the team's lone linebacker in the dime package, starring last week with a crucial pass breakup on the penultimate snap by USC.
Senior Will Linebacker #8 Kendall Moore: Serves as the team's fourth inside linebacker and starts on kickoff coverage and return, plus the punt coverage team.
Sophomore Defensive End #94 Jarron Jones: Has recorded two tackles, a quarterback hurry, and blocked an extra point this season. Will likely see more scrimmage time today with Louis Nix in South Bend and Sheldon Day still recovering from an ankle sprain.
Junior Drop Linebacker #30 Ben Councell: Rotates behind Jaylon Smith to bring a physical presence to the position. Has seven tackles on the season while also serving on the kick coverage unt.
Junior Safety #16 Eilar Hardy: Made his collegiate debut from scrimmage in Week Two and will serve as the No. 4 safety this week with Shumate limited by a hamstring strain.
Freshman Safety #10 Max Redfield: Made his scrimmage debut last week vs. USC. Has started on the kick and punt coverage units throughout his true freshman season.