The Irish have some big shoes to fill when it comes to the offensive skill positions. Leading rusher Dexter Williams is no longer around after falling just short of 1,000 yards a year ago. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns.
Notre Dame also has to replace two of its top four pass catchers from a season ago, a problem UGA is familiar with. The team’s leading receiver, Miles Boykin, was taken in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens and showed the NFL Combine that he’s a tremendous talent at 6-foot-4 220 pounds. Athletic tight end Alize Jones is also gone.
The Fighting Irish return four starters on the offensive line from a year ago. Last year’s right guard, Trevor Ruhland, will likely move over to center to replace Sam Mustipher.
There are also some major losses on the defensive side, where Notre Dame loses two of its most active linebackers, it’s best cornerback, and its best defensive tackle.
Te’Von Coney was the Irish’s leading tackler in 2018 with 123 stops. He also had 9.5 tackles for a loss and was one of the unit’s biggest leaders. Drue Tranquill, the team’s third-leading tackler, was also a key performer. He had an interception against Georgia in 2017 and racked up 86 stops in his final season with the program. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cornerback Julian Love, who was a finalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, elected to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft after a strong junior campaign. He was taken in the fourth round of the draft by New York where he’ll join Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award and first-round pick.’
Maybe Notre Dame’s biggest loss on either side of the ball, however, is defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The Los Angeles Chargers took him with the No. 28 overall pick in the draft and the 6-foot-6 295-pound defender was almost unblockable in his final college season. He had 30 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, five quarterback hurries, and three forced fumbles while consistently fighting double-team blocks.
Notre Dame also has to replace punter Tyler Newsome and place-kicker Justin Yoon.
Ian Book is back at quarterback, and so is most of his o-line, so it’s not all gloom and doom for the Irish. But that’s a lot of talent gone, at almost every level.