Class: Junior (Eligibility: 3)
On The Depth Chart: Dew-Treadway got a lot of second-team work during spring practice, but it's unclear how much of Elijah Taylor's injury triggered that.
Post-Spring Status: Ascending
When Notre Dame landed Micah Dew-Treadway out of Bolingbrook outside Chicago three years ago, the Irish knew they were taking on a long-term project. Dew-Treadway played defensive end and even some tight end in high school. When he played in the Semper Fi all-star game that winter he looked the part in his uniform but also looked raw when the lights came on.
Basically, the Irish invested that Dew-Treadway could grow into something capable in South Bend. It was just going to take a few years before that actually clicked. That's how it's supposed to work with most three-star prospects, which is what Dew-Treadway was across all four major recruiting services.
Well, two years later it's time for Notre Dame to figure out what it's got.
According to Brian Kelly, the returns were promising during spring ball, which was Dew-Treadway's third run through off-season drills. The junior even posted some of his own winter workout videos on social media that showed a leaner athlete than the one who sat out last season with a broken foot.
DEW-TREADWAY AT HIS BEST
Dew-Treadway has not played during his first two years, taking a red shirt as a freshman and getting sidelined by a foot injury for his entire sophomore season.
"Micah has had a really good off-season for us," Kelly said. "He has changed his body and has been doing a really, really good job in all facets, in the classroom, in the weight room, and he has been somebody that had been ascending anyway." – Brian Kelly during spring practice
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Notre Dame has bodies along the defensive line. Dew-Treadway is one. What the Irish lack are playmakers at the position, despite some of Brian Kelly's optimism during spring practice. While no one is predicting that Dew-Treadway will become the next Sheldon Day this fall, could the Irish get 15 quality snaps out of the junior on a weekly basis? Beyond Jerry Tillery it's hard to look at this depth chart and pick out somebody the Irish staff can't afford to take off the field. That opens he door for Dew-Treadway to make the case he deserves more reps. The best-case for this junior is less about statistics than it is snap counts. If he can have a Jay Hayes-style junior year (usually getting into the high teens for snaps), the Irish would take it.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
The good thing about lacking proven defensive tackles is that everybody should get a shot. The bad thing about lacking proven defensive tackles, for Dew-Treadway at least, might be that somebody else connects with their chance before the junior. If the Irish are looking for a 20-snap player on the interior, does Dew-Treadway stay ahead of Brandon Tiassum? Does Darnell Ewell win over the coaching staff early? Does Elijah Taylor get back to full strength? It's hard to imagine Dew-Treadway dropping below the sixth spot among the interior defensive linemen. Still, if he sinks that far, it's hard to imagine him picking up a ton of work on Saturdays unless the coaching staff rotates liberally at the position, something they have not done in the past.
Tyler Stockton is a decent career comparison considering Stockton enrolled early like Dew-Treadway, took a red shirt and then didn't make an impact as a sophomore. Stockton got on the field in six games that season and actually made one tackle (it was a sack against Boston College). Unfortunately for Stockton, he didn't see the field during the next two seasons before finding a rotational role as a fifth-year senior. Dew-Treadway should deliver more than that during the next three years, but his first five semesters here have been Stockton-esque.