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Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting)

Matt Gajewski

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2021 Notre Dame Fighting Irish College football season preview, schedule, depth chart, betting picks fantasy football

No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2020 Record: 10-2
Returning Starters: Offense No. 3, Defense No. 6

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Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Brian Kelly (102-39)
  • Offensive Coordinator — Tommy Rees
  • Defensive Coordinator — Marcus Freeman
  • Points/Game — 33.4 (27th)
  • Plays/Game — 74.3 (38th)
  • Pass Rate — 43.39% (88th)
  • Yards/Att R — 5.0 (28th)
  • Yards/Att P — 7.9 (43rd)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 3.9 (33rd)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 7.1 (51st)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 19.7 (14th)
  • Vegas Win Total – 8.5, Over -125, Under +105

Notes

Brian Kelly has been the coach of Notre Dame since 2010. He has a checkered coaching history, mostly dominating weak competition and struggling against the top programs. Tommy Rees enters his second year as offensive coordinator after previously coaching quarterbacks. He is credited with the ascendance of Ian Book. Clark Lea left Notre Dame as DC to be the next head coach of Vanderbilt. Marcus Freeman becomes the new DC after coordinating the defense at Cincinnati between 2017-2020.

Recruiting Class: No. 9

Five Star Recruits:

None

Other Top Recruits:

  • Tyler Buchner No. 10 QB
  • Lorenzo Styles No. 20 WR
  • Cane Berrong No. 9 TE
  • Deion Colzie No. 16 WR
  • Audric Estime No. 14 RB
  • Jayden Thomas No. 51 WR
  • Rocco Spindler — No. 59 IOL
  • Gabriel Rubio — No. 116 DL
  • Prince Kollie — No. 144 LB
  • Phillip Riley — No. 305 CB
  • Caleb Johnson — No. 321 OT
  • Khari Gee — No. 394 S
  • Blake Fisher — No. 54 OT

Transfers

  • Jack Coan (Wisconsin — QB)
  • Cain Madden (Marshall — iOL)

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch 

QB Jack Coan, RB Kyren Williams

Notre Dame Depth Charts

Offense: 3 Returning Starters

  • QB: Jack Coan, Drew Pyne
  • RB: Kyren Williams, Chris Tyree
  • WR1: Kevin Austin, Xavier Watts
  • WR2: Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys
  • WR3: Avery Davis, Joe Wilkins
  • TE: Michael Mayer, George Takacs
  • LT: Blake Fisher, Tosh Baker
  • LG: Cain Madden, Rocco Spindler
  • C: Zeke Correll, Michael Carmody
  • RG: Jarrett Patterson
  • RT: Josh Lugg, Quinn Carroll

Defense: 6 Returning Starters

  • Edge: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa
  • DT: Jayson Ademilola
  • DT: Kurt Hinish
  • Edge: Isaiah Foskey
  • LB: Shayne Simon
  • LB: Drew White
  • CB: Cam Hart
  • CB: Clarence Lewis
  • CB-N TaRiq Bracy
  • S: Houston Griffith
  • S: Kyle Hamilton

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish Team Breakdown

Notre Dame is fresh off a 10-2 season with losses coming to Clemson in the ACC championship and Alabama in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame has a considerable rebuild ahead of them after losing Ian Book, Tommy Tremble, Liam Eichenberg, Robert Hainsey, Aaron Banks, Tommy Kraemer, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Ben Skowronek, Ade Ogundeji, Daelin Hayes, Nick McCloud, Javon McKinley, and Shaun Crawford.

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At quarterback Notre Dame received a notable transfer from Wisconsin in Jack Coan. Coan missed all of 2020 with a broken foot. Coan completed 69.6% of his passes for 2727 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions in 2019. He offers nothing with his legs. He only eclipsed 300 passing yards one time and that occurred against Central Michigan. His adjusted completion percentage was 78.4%, but his ADOT was only 7.5. He faced pressure on 24% of his drop backs. Behind Coan, Notre Dame has ample questions. Brendon Clark missed the latter part of the season with a knee injury. He would be the number two if healthy. Drew Pyne is a former four-star and the No. 8 QB from the 2020 class. He is the probable backup now. They also have incoming four-star freshman Tyler Buchner.

At running back they return Kyren Williams, who rushed for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns on 211 attempts. He also caught 35 balls. Chris Tyree is back after a hyper efficient 496 yards on 73 carries. C’Bo Flemister rushed for 299 yards on 58 carries last year. Audric Estime will immediately be the largest back on the team when he arrives.

At receiver, Notre Dame lacked the production of the Equanimeous St Brown and Chase Claypool last year. Bennett Skowronek and Javon McKinley are also gone, leaving just 44 total receptions from last year’s group on the roster. Kevin Austin caught one ball last year but should be a favorite to start. He has been with the program for four years, despite having just six career catches. Branden Lenzy is likely the favorite to start on the outside opposite Austin. He caught 7 passes for 63 yards last year. He also enters his fourth season. Avery Davis is the leader among returning receivers. He caught 24 passes for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns last year. He primarily plays in the slot. Lawrence Keys is a depth piece who could earn playing time. The same goes for Joe Wilkins, who caught 7 passes for 63 yards last year. This position is extremely unsettled and could see one of the younger prospects emerge too — Jordan Johnson, Xavier Watts, Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas.

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Tight end is still a position of strength with the return of Michael Mayer. Displacing Tommy Tremble, Mayer tied for a team-leading 42 receptions last year. He also totaled 450 yards as a freshman. Mayer played in the slot on 51.9% of his snaps. Behind him, Notre Dame is deep with George Takacs and Kevin Baumann. This is important because Notre Dame will run a good amount of two tight end sets.

Notre Dame ranked 24th in pass blocking last year but lost a lot of talent from the offensive line. Jarrett Patterson may be the best option at left tackle after playing eight games at center last year. He was initially recruited as a tackle but moved inside to get the best five linemen on the field. They may also turn to true freshman Blake Fisher. He was the No. 54 prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. Left guard could be Marshall transfer Cain Madden. He has 31 career starts. Zeke Correll is the favorite for center after he filled in for Patterson last year in four games. He did not perform very well as a pass blocker, but he has the experience. The right guard spot is also up for grabs. Jarrett Patterson will play here if a youngster is to step up at left tackle. If not, Andrew Kristofic, or early enrollees Rocco Sindler and Blake Fisher could also work in. Both are four-star prospects and already weigh over 315 pounds. Finally, right tackle is probably Josh Lugg. Lugg has battled injuries but filled in at various points during his Notre Dame career. Tosh Baker is also another potential fit here.

On defense, Notre Dame returned six starters. They lost Daelin Hayes, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Nick McCloud, and Shaun Crawford. On the defensive line, they return Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa after a Second Team All-ACC season. Isaiah Foskey should play opposite after 4.5 sacks as a complementary player. On the interior, Jayson Ademilola started a pair of games opposite Honorable Mention All-ACC player Kurt Hinish. At linebacker, Shayne Simon started 8 games, Drew White started 12 games and Jack Kiser started one as well. At corner, they return one starter in Clarence Lewis. The other positions should be manned by Cam Hart and TaRiq Bracy. Safety returns First Team All-ACC player Kyle Hamilton with Houston Griffith stepping up after starting one game last year.

Notre Dame 2021 Football Schedule

  • 09/05 Florida St 7:30 pm Away
  • 09/11 Toledo 2:30 pm Home
  • 09/18 Purdue 2:30 pm Home
  • 09/25 Wisconsin 12:00 pm Neutral
  • 10/02 Cincinnati 2:30 pm Home
  • 10/09 VA Tech 1:00 pm Away
  • 10/23 USC 7:30 pm Home
  • 10/30 N Carolina 7:30 pm Home
  • 11/06 Navy 3:30 pm Neutral
  • 11/13 Virginia 12:00 pm Away
  • 11/20 GA Tech 2:30 pm Home
  • 11/27 Stanford 12:00 pm Away

Notre Dame Football Betting Outlook

Notre Dame plays a difficult schedule. They draw Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Stanford on the road. At home, they face Toledo, Purdue, USC, North Carolina, Navy, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. They also face Wisconsin at a neutral location. Wisconsin, Cincinnati, USC, and North Carolina are all tough opponents for a rebuilding Irish team.


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Looking for more the best college football DFS picks and CFB DFS picks for this week? Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world, developed and maintains the CFB DFS ownership projections. Check out our industry-leading DraftKings DFS college football projections for today.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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