Notre Dame’s defense landed a significant pickup with the announcement that Navy safety transfer Alohi Gilman has decided to transfer in and play for the Fighting Irish.
“I’m extremely grateful to be a part of the Notre Dame family,” Gilman said in a statement released through Notre Dame. “I’m thankful to the coaching staff and the man above for not only believing in me, but also providing this opportunity. I’m excited for this next chapter in my journey.”
“First of all, Alohi is a great fit here in terms of his character and also what he wants to achieve academically,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “Clearly, that’s primary in our recruiting. Secondly, in terms of his football fit, we got a good look of him against us last season. He plays the style of safety we want in this program. Alohi’s a run-and-hit safety that fits perfectly in the Mike Elko defense.”
Gilman started 12 games as a freshman this past season and played in all 14 contests. The native of Laie, Hawai’I played both safety spots, cornerback and even some outside linebacker in his one season for the Midshipmen.
Gilman finished second on the Navy defense with 76 tackles and tied for second with 50 solo tackles. The 6-0, 195-pound safety finished third on the team with five tackles for loss and was third on the defense with five pass break ups.
His impact on the defense was felt early, with Gilman racking up 10 tackles in a 28-24 win over Connecticut in the second game of the season. Gilman also returned a fumble for a touchdown in that victory.
Gilman had a career-high 12 tackles in Navy’s 28-27 win over Notre Dame.
Gilman earned Honorable Mention All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2016 and was name the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year.
Barring him receiving a waiver from the NCAA, Gilman will not be eligible to play in games during the 2017 season. Gilman will then have three seasons of eligibility remaining once he can get on the field in 2018.
Notre Dame has a need for more impact talent at safety, and Gilman adds the experience, toughness, range and versatility the Irish defense needs in the secondary. He could provide depth at both safety spots and could play some at rover against certain looks.
One can’t overlook his experience playing against Navy’s offense in practice, which should serve him well in games against the Midshipmen.
Gilman will have three years of eligibility remaining.