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Fresh Faces: Notre Dame's Defensive Newcomers Ready for Action

Written by Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter/X: @LiamFarrell_IT

Photo by The Irish Tribune

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Irish defensive newcomers introduced themselves to the media for the first time earlier today.

Jordan Clark, son of NFL Pro-Bowler and analyst Ryan Clark, was a key transfer portal acquisition for Marcus Freeman this offseason. Clark was brought in to solidify an already stacked Notre Dame secondary that returns Bronco Nagurski Trophy winner, Xavier Watts, and All-American corner, Benjamin Morrison.

"We don't need any defensive back talent," Clark joked when answering how Notre Dame pitched themselves to him.

"I came here because I wanted to progress and grow," Clark stated.

The track record of Notre Dame safeties surely enticed and was a key factor in Clark pledging his commitment to the Irish. Kyle Hamilton, Harrison Smith, and Julian Love are the most recent, yet prime examples of Fighting Irish safeties having success at the next level.

Other players to greet the media were highly touted freshmen, Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa and Bryce Young. Both Viliamu-Asa and Young were 5-star prospects by at least one online recruiting service and are expected to make an impact during the 2024 season.

"Wherever they need me. I'll go out there and give it my all and show the coaches I can play," Viliamu-Asa stated.

Viliamu-Asa, while extremely humble and soft-spoken during interviews, wrecks unimaginable havoc between the white lines. During his senior season, he totaled 114 total tackles, with 56 solo tackles, and 13 tackles for loss. Viliamu-Asa played and excelled against the premier talents seen in the Trinity League, which speaks to the possibility to make an early impact for the Fighting Irish.

For Young, physicality will serve as the main factor in seeing playing time for the upcoming season.

"I'm around 250 [pounds], but I want to get to 255 or 260 by spring," said Young.

Young had one of the biggest jumps in the recruiting rankings after a dominant senior season. Packing on weight to his 6-foot 5-inch frame led to a lot of Young's success. As an outside rusher, he prides himself on the combination of his size and speed.

During his senior season, Young led Charlotte Christian with 14 sacks, and added 18 tackles for loss. He also excelled during the post season prospect practices, specifically at the All-American Bowl this past January. If Young can continue to pack on weight to his tall frame, the Charlotte, N.C. rusher will have a fruitful career with the Fighting Irish.

The additions of Clark, Viliamu-Asa, and Young are crucial in bolstering the talent on Notre Dame’s defense. Their diverse skillsets and impressive physical abilities will help contribute to the Fighting Irish’s success in the 2024 season and beyond.


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