Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2022 29 ter and five to 10 mid-years. All trans- fers must have earned a 'B' or better in courses required by their prospective college within Notre Dame. They must possess a "competitive GPA," a strong high school academic track record and "27 transferrable credits and a minimum of one year of college." The deadline for a transfer to apply for fall enrollment is March 15. The spring deadline is Oct. 1. Furthermore, Notre Dame rarely ac- cepts transfers as incoming juniors or beyond. Freeman isn't interested in prod- ding the admissions office into tearing up those parameters. He understands he didn't gain the power to shake up Notre Dame's core tenants when he be- came head coach. He's not interested in changing the place. He has leaned into its academic rigor as a selling point. But he is picking his spots to ask for calculated exceptions. Like a potential difference-maker who comes from a like-minded academic institution. "We're working with our university, working with the deans and the faculty in our transfer process," Freeman said. "How do we enhance it? How do we as coaches understand the difficulties on the deans, and how do the deans un- derstand the difficulties we as coaches have and continue to find a common ground?" Joseph was a positive reflection of Freeman and the admission's depart- ment's collaboration. He's a former All- American with 9 interceptions the last two seasons who filled a major need on the roster — a no-doubt target the min- ute he hit the portal. At the same time, he was a junior transferring well past the normal mid-year application dead- line and during winter break. It required compromise and permis- sion. In this case, that was a reasonable ask. "You'd think a kid who is transfer- ring from a great institution like North- western to Notre Dame would have the ability of being admitted to school," Freeman said. "But it's still about find- ing the right football player, the right athlete, the right student and the right institution where those credits transfer over." The portal won't be a staple of Notre Dame's roster building. Freeman doesn't need it to be. The way he's recruiting, it may not have to be, especially if Notre Dame's developmental skills in the last five years of the Brian Kelly Era carry over to Freeman's reign. But he would like it to be accessible when needed. For instance, Notre Dame couldn't find a transfer portal receiver this off- season — grad or undergrad — despite thorough exploration. That wasn't only due to undergrad transfer policies, but those did narrow the realistic pool. Freeman isn't sour on the university's commitment to helping his portal pur- suits, though. Not after he just pulled a former All-American out of it with the school's help. He sees it as a strong start in enhancing but not overhauling the right mix of give and take when explor- ing the undergrad transfer market. "It's a work in progress," Freeman said. "I'm very encouraged by a lot of the discussions that have been made. It's part of our game. It's real. We have to be able to utilize the transfer por- tal with the right kids. It's also under- standing who the right kids are." ✦ DEFENSE Strong-Side End No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 99 Rylie Mills 6-5 1 ⁄8 283 Jr./3 31 Nana Osafo-Mensah 6-3 1 ⁄8 250 Sr./3 90 Alex Ehrensberger 6-6 7 ⁄8 255 Jr./3 Defensive Tackle No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 57 Jayson Ademilola 6-3 280 Gr./1 56 Howard Cross III 6-0 7 ⁄8 275 Sr./3 97 Gabriel Rubio 6-5¼ 290 So./4 98 Tyson Ford 6-4 269 Fr./4 Nose Tackle No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 54 Jacob Lacey 6-1 5 ⁄8 275 Sr./2 65 Chris Smith 6-1 3 ⁄8 304 Gr./1 47 Jason Onye 6-5 289 So./4 41 Donovan Hinish 6-1 5 ⁄8 280 Fr./4 92 Aidan Keanaaina* 6-3 310 Jr./3 Vyper No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 7 Isaiah Foskey 6-5 260 Sr./3 9 Justin Ademilola 6-1¾ 255 Gr./2 34 Osita Ekwonu 6-0¾ 236 Sr./3 40 Joshua Burnham 6-4 214 Fr./4 91 Aiden Gobaira 6-5 230 Fr./4 Will Linebacker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 8 Marist Liufau 6-2¼ 229 Sr./3 10 Prince Kollie 6-0½ 222 So./3 17 Jaylen Sneed 6-1 1 ⁄8 198 Fr./4 Mike Linebacker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 27 JD Bertrand 6-1 230 Sr./3 52 Bo Bauer 6-2¾ 233 Gr./1 44 Junior Tuihalamaka 6-2 229 Fr./4 Rover No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 24 Jack Kiser 6-1 5 ⁄8 222 Sr./3 12 Jordan Botelho 6-2½ 245 Jr./3 48 Will Schweitzer 6-4 225 So./4 42 Nolan Ziegler 6-3 205 Fr./4 Boundary Cornerback No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 5 Cam Hart 6-2½ 205 Sr./3 15 Ryan Barnes 6-1 7 ⁄8 187 So./4 18 Chance Tucker 5-11¾ 183 So./4 20 Benjamin Morrison 6-0¼ 179 Fr./4 Field Cornerback No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 6 Clarence Lewis 5-11½ 193 Jr./3 21 Jaden Mickey 5-11½ 176 Fr./4 23 Jayden Bellamy 5-11 170 Fr./4 Nickel Back No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 28 TaRiq Bracy 5-10 1 ⁄8 177 Gr./1 25 Philip Riley 5-11½ 202 So./4 Strong Safety No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 16 Brandon Joseph 6-1 192 Sr./3 3 Houston Griffith 6-0¼ 202 Gr./1 4 Xavier Watts 5-11¾ 195 Jr./3 Free Safety No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 2 DJ Brown 6-0 3 ⁄8 200 Gr./2 11 Ramon Henderson 6-1 190 Jr./3 22 Justin Walters 6-0 5 ⁄8 188 So./4 SPECIAL TEAMS Kicker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 99 Blake Grupe 5-7 3 ⁄8 150 Gr./1 91 Joshua Bryan 5-11 5 ⁄8 183 So./4 Punter No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 14 Bryce McFerson 6-1½ 185 Fr./4 Long Snapper No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 65 Michael Vinson 6-2 230 Gr./2 44 Alex Peitsch 6-1 1 ⁄8 210 Jr./4 * Out for the season BGI PRE-FALL 2022 NOTRE DAME SCHOLARSHIP DEPTH CHART: DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS Prior to fall camp, here is Blue & Gold Illustrated's projection for how Notre Dame's 2022 depth chart could shake out when the Fighting Irish open the season this fall.

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