The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were hit extremely hard by departures to the NFL this offseason, particularly along the defensive line. Stalwarts like Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III are gone, leaving many to wonder just what the Irish line would look like this fall. Junior Sheldon Day has stepped up during the spring and summer, challenging himself and his fellow defensive linemen to pick up the slack, and emerged as a clear leader for the Notre Dame defense this season.
As a sophomore in 2013, Day began to emerge as a solid contributor on the line, recording 33 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks in 11 games played. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound has dropped some weight this offseason as he prepares to move inside in the team’s new 4-3 alignment in an effort to get after the quarterback more effectively in 2014. Brian Kelley has raved about the work Day has done on himself and with the entire group of Irish defensive linemen heading into fall camp.
That improvement will be incredibly important for a Notre Dame defense that will try to get the Irish back to the top of college football in 2014. The key this offseason has been trying to replace the talents of Tuitt, who led the team with 7.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss a season ago. Notre Dame needs someone to step up and become the disruptive force that Tuitt was and Day has put in the work to fill that role this fall.
Sheldon Day has stepped up to answer questions about the Irish defensive line this offseason. Will he be the answer to get Notre Dame into the College Football Playoff this fall?