Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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8 SEPT. 10, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Wide Receiver Kevin Austin Will Emerge By Lou Somogyi During the four August practice sessions open to the media, and then through further testimo- nials from the coaching staff, three freshmen in particular began to distinguish themselves prior to the season opener versus Michigan Sept. 1 — wide receiver Kevin Austin, rover Shayne Simon and safety Houston Griffith, whose presence already was felt in the spring when he was an early enrollee. As the season progresses, Austin is the one whose role is likely to expand the most, espe- cially because wideout and running back are the two most probable areas where a freshman's talents can best flourish. From Tony Hunter in 1979 through TJ Jones in 2010, six different Irish receiv- ers caught at least 20 passes as freshmen (led by Michael Floyd's 48 in 2008). That does not even include so many who made noteworthy, if not game- changing, contributions such as Joe "Small Wonder" Howard (1981), Raghib "Rocket" Ismail (1988), Lake Dawson (1990), Derrick Mayes (1992), Joey Getherall (1997), Maurice Stovall (2002), Golden Tate (2007, although over- shadowed by classmate Duval Kamara's then-freshmen record 32 catches) and even Corey Robinson (2013), who arrived with future first-round classmate Will Fuller and James Onwualu (later shifted to defense) — all of whom made significant contributions in handing 13-1 Michigan State its lone defeat. History means nothing if one doesn't possess the talent. Austin's combina- tion of ball skills, physicality and explosion will continue to bloom, whereas at safety and rover more learning is usually required. Rover Shayne Simon Will Make His Presence Felt By Bryan Driskell It was difficult to choose between freshman safety Houston Griffith and rover Shayne Simon, but ultimately I went with Simon for a number of important reasons. Griffith had an outstanding spring and he'll play at safety, but the veterans at the position have had good fall camps and the talented fresh- man doesn't seem poised to take over the posi- tion — at least not yet. The rover spot is far less settled. Senior starter Asmar Bilal is athletic, but a bit one-dimensional as a defender. Sophomore Jeremiah Owusu- Koramoah is the most explosive athlete at the position, but he's just 215 pounds and missed time during fall camp with a hamstring injury. When Owusu-Koramoah went down it opened up an opportunity for Simon, a player I gave a five-star upside grade to when he signed with the Irish. At 6-3 and 222 pounds, Simon has the size you want for a linebacker, but he moves on the football field like a safety. He is fast, fluid and a natural in coverage. Simon is a defender you couldn't help but notice whenever he was on the field, and he'll begin the season fighting for legitimate snaps at the position. The deeper we get into the season the more I expect him to play, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if there are games he dominates the position. With his size, impressive strength for his age and top-notch athleticism, Simon should also become an immediate stalwart on the Irish special teams. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH FRESHMAN WILL HAVE THE MOST IMPACT IN 2018? KEVIN AUSTIN SHAYNE SIMON Sophomore golfer Davis Chatfield finished his summer on a strong note, advancing to the round of 32 in the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 13-19 at Pebble Beach, Calif. Chatfield shot a 1-under-par 71 to open the event, and followed it with a 3-over 74 for a 145 total to finish in the top 64 and advance to the match play portion of the event by two strokes. The sophomore won his first match 6-and-4 be- fore falling 4-and-3 in the round of 32. Notre Dame and Chatfield will begin the 2017-18 golf campaign at the Badger Invi- tational Sept. 9-11 in Madi- son, Wis. BGI: How would you de- scribe the experience of the U.S. Amateur and playing one of the more famous courses in Pebble Beach? Chatfield: "Pebble Beach is one of the iconic courses in the world. I was so amazed by the views. Once you get to hole No. 4 up to the 11th green is all right on the water. There's so much history. "I didn't have to look at a course map or any- thing. I knew where all the holes were. To be part of that and to play pretty well getting to the second round of match play was special. I'm glad to I was able to represent Notre Dame." BGI: What was your game plan entering the event? Chatfield: "It was really just the same game plan I always have. Focus in on every shot and tally it up in the end … I gave it every- thing I had. "It got a little dicey on the second day. I had three bo- geys in a row, but bounced back to get a birdie on my 36th hole of stroke play." BGI: What went well for you and what can you im- prove upon after seeing your game on that stage? Chatfield: "In the end, I didn't play the way I wanted to. During the round of 32, I didn't hit it as quite as solid as I did the first couple of days. I didn't hit as many greens. Pebble Beach's greens are small targets, but if you're on the green you get a pretty decent look. "My ball striking and putting were pretty solid overall. I was lucky to have at least two good rounds in stroke play to advance." BGI: What do you take away from your success to use heading into your sophomore year? Chatfield: "I definitely like where my game is at and where it is headed. I've worked a lot on the mental aspect of the game. I'm not the longest hitter by any means. I have to take what the course gives me when I go out and play. "Everyone has to play the same course. I can use this as a big momentum boost, especially being the last event of the summer heading into the season. I'm doing alright in qualifying so far." BGI: How does the team look in the early stages preparing for the season? Chatfield: "The team is very good this year. We're certainly very deep. I think the qualifying scores show that anyone can score low at any given time. "It's always nice to have nine other guys that are just as good as you and always there to sup- port you through whatever. They're always there to help in any case." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … SOPHOMORE GOLFER DAVIS CHATFIELD Chatfield advanced to the round of 32 at the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 13‑19 in Pebble Beach, Calif. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

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