Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2023 31 "I didn't know whether or not he was gonna be able to crack the lineup," then-Oak Ridge defen- sive backs coach Joshua Palmer said. "Not that I was doubting him, but just based on where he was coming from, it was gonna be hard for him to crack the starting lineup. But he put in the work, and he cracked it." C a r te r wa s n 't a s ke d to do much at his previ- ous school, Orlando (Fla.) Olympia. His job was es- sentially to sit in the flats in Olympia's Tampa 2 sys- tem. Oak Ridge would ask more of him, and he quickly proved he could handle it. His coach at Oak Ridge, Clint John- son, played at Notre Dame. He said Carter's intelligence stood out among all else. "He's gonna be where he's supposed to be and he's gonna do what he's sup- posed to do," said Johnson, who is now the director of major gifts at the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference. "And nor- mally, you've only gotta show him one time." At Notre Dame, Johnson played with the likes of Jeff Burris, Bryant Young and Bobby Taylor, who had a knack for being around the football. He sees the same ability in Carter. Downhill aggressiveness, attacking the football, hit-sticking, form tackling are hallmarks of Carter's tape. Palmer also praised his ability to impact a game without many onlookers noticing. "Have you ever watched a basketball game and a player had 40 points and 10 assists, and you wonder when and how he got it?" Palmer said. "That's Antonio." NOTHING GUARANTEED Notre Dame did not guarantee playing time for Carter. According to his dad, the Irish told him he would start with the second team and have to work his way up. Given the amount of interest he received, it's reasonable to assume Carter could have gone to a Power Five school where he could have slotted in as the No. 1 strong safety right away. I n s tea d , C a r te r p u t an emphasis on life after football when choosing a transfer destination. His high school coaches say he never missed a class, and academics have always been a focus for him. Carter, at one point, wanted to be a pediatrician. "The kids loved him, even my nephew," Tiffany Carter said. "Whether it's helping him with home- work or trying to teach them something, he has always been that guy. … He took college courses in high school. It has always been school before football." As Johnson put it to The Athletic's Pete Sampson before Carter commit- ted to the Fighting Irish, "He's a Notre Dame kid." School is the reason Carter didn't enter the transfer portal until April 16, despite having a good idea he would do so in December. He wanted to finish his undergraduate degree at Rhode Island, which he did. Getting a graduate degree from Notre Dame is his next goal, as is cracking the starting lineup when many don't expect him to, again. "You're a great player," Tiffany Carter said she told her son. "Go for it." ✦ Carter made 112 tackles and broke up 17 passes for FCS school Rhode Island during the past two seasons. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND Vyper No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 12 Jordan Botelho 6-2½ 255 Sr./2 44 Junior Tuihalamaka 6-2 247 So./4 40 Joshua Burnham 6-3½ 247 So./4 51 Boubacar Traore 6-4 250 Fr./4 Nose Tackle No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 56 Howard Cross III 6-0⅞ 280 Gr./2 47 Jason Onye 6-4½ 292 Jr./3 92 Aidan Keanaaina 6-3 312 Sr./3 41 Donovan Hinish 6-1⅝ 280 So./4 Defensive Tackle No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 99 Rylie Mills 6-5⅛ 296 Sr./2 97 Gabriel Rubio 6-5¼ 302 Jr./3 95 Tyson Ford 6-3⅞ 292 So./4 98 Devan Houstan 6-4 287 Fr./4 Field End No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 1 J. Jean-Baptiste 6-4½ 255 Gr./1 31 Nana Osafo-Mensah 6-3⅛ 260 Sr./3 91 Aiden Gobaira 6-4⅝ 241 So./4 17 Brenan Vernon 6-4 250 Fr./4 93 Armel Mukam 6-4 250 Fr./4 Will Linebacker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 8 Marist Liufau 6-2¼ 235 Gr./2 25 Preston Zinter 6-2 233 Fr./4 Mike Linebacker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 27 JD Bertrand 6-1 230 Gr./2 42 Nolan Ziegler 6-3 225 So./4 34 Drayk Bowen 6-2 230 Fr./4 Rover No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 24 Jack Kiser 6-1⅝ 223 Gr./2 3 Jaylen Sneed 6-1⅛ 217 So./3 23 Jaiden Ausberry 6-0⅛ 215 Fr./4 Boundary Cornerback No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 20 Benjamin Morrison 6-0¼ 185 So./3 18 Chance Tucker 5-11¾ 180 Jr./3 15 Ryan Barnes 6-1⅞ 190 Jr./3 29 Christian Gray 5-11¾ 184 Fr./4 Field Cornerback No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 5 Cam Hart 6-2½ 202 Gr./2 6 Clarence Lewis 5-11½ 196 Sr./2 7 Jaden Mickey 5-11½ 177 So./3 16 Micah Bell 5-10 162 Fr./4 Slot Cornerback No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 13 Thomas Harper 5-11 195 Gr./1 6 Clarence Lewis 5-11½ 196 Sr./2 15 Ryan Barnes 6-1⅞ 190 Jr./3 Strong Safety No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 0 Xavier Watts 5-11¾ 198 Sr./2 13 Thomas Harper 5-11 195 Gr./1 21 Adon Shuler 5-11½ 195 Fr./4 Free Safety No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 2 DJ Brown 6-0⅜ 200 Gr./1 4 Antonio Carter II 6-1 200 Gr./2 11 Ramon Henderson 6-1 190 Sr./2 22 Ben Minich 5-11⅞ 190 Fr./4 SPECIAL TEAMS Kicker No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 32 Spencer Shrader 6-2 190 Gr./1 Punter No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 14 Bryce McFerson 6-1½ 190 So./4 Long Snapper No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 65 Michael Vinson 6-2 235 Gr./1 PRE-FALL CAMP 2023 DEFENSE DEPTH CHART Here is Blue & Gold Illustrated's projection for how Notre Dame's 2023 scholarship depth chart looks heading into fall camp.

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