Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2015 Issue

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

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Page 28 of 111

BY ANDREW OWENS R egardless of talent, every college football player has a different developmental timeline, ranging from being ready to contribute on day one to those that are never quite prepared. Irish senior safety Elijah Shumate started most of last season, but it took him until 2015 to find his groove in Notre Dame's defense. "He's skyrocketing," head coach Brian Kelly said. "I wish I had him another couple years. He's really coming into his own. I'm really proud of him. A STEADY FORCE Elijah Shumate has developed into a consistent player during his senior season "Some guys, it takes longer to get to that point. He was still cooking and wasn't done yet. He's one of those guys that is ascending for us. It's re- ally nice to see, he's such a great kid. He cares so much and was working so hard at his craft, and was struggling and it was wearing on him. … It is really one of the gratifying things as a coach when you get to see a player break through that wall. He was bang- ing on that wall, and you can see it's coming down for him." Shumate started 11 games on the back line of the Irish defense in 2014, but admits he didn't grasp defen- sive coordinator Brian VanGorder 's scheme as quickly as he would have liked. This season, however, he has been a consistent and playmaking

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