Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 25, 2023

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

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Page 13 of 55

14 NOV. 25, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA W hen Marcus Freeman arrived at Notre Dame as the Fight- ing Irish's defensive coordi- nator in late winter 2021, he received many inquiries from current players wanting to connect and create a bond right away. One of them came from an unlikely candidate, at the time. JD Bertrand was a third-string line- backer back then. He had all of 38 de- fensive snaps to his name. He wasn't expected to up that total by much that fall, either. Marist Liufau and Shayne Simon were firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart. But then Liufau broke his leg in fall camp, and Simon sustained a season-ending injury in the season opener. Suddenly, Bertrand was a one-man band at weak-side linebacker. All after, of course, he went out of his way to get noticed by the new defensive coordina- Bertrand has set the standard for head coach Marcus Freeman throughout their time together in South Bend. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER THE TOTAL THE TOTAL STUDENT-ATHLETE STUDENT-ATHLETE JD Bertrand has been one of Marcus Freeman's most trusted players ever since they teamed up almost three years ago

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