Scott Pagano Eliminates Notre Dame: Where Irish Go from Here

Brian Kelly has been telling anyone who will listen this spring that Notre Dame has more talent on the defensive line than anyone gives them credit for.  No one has really believed him.  After Scott Pagano eliminated Notre Dame from consideration for his graduate transfer, we’re all about to find out.

After almost two months of speculation, Pagano told the South Bend Tribune that he will be deciding between Oklahoma and Oregon later this week.

Ever since Scott Pagano announced Notre Dame was one of the finalists for his final year of eligibility and visited Notre Dame last month, Notre Dame fans have hypothesized how big of an impact he could have for a Notre Dame defensive line deep with bodies, but short on experience and impact players.

Had Pagano decided to attend to Notre Dame for his 5th season, there is little question that he could have been a starter.  That won’t be happening, however, and now Notre Dame will head into the season with questionable depth.

Does Jerry Tillery Stay at Nose Tackle?

So far this spring rising junior Jerry Tillery has been running as the first team nose tackle.  The thought was, however, that Tillery could play the three technique if Pagano came to Notre Dame.   Tillery could still move to the three technique if/when Daniel Cage is back in top shape after his missed time as well.

If Tillery stays at nose tackle, Jonathan Bonner could be the opening day starter at defensive tackle with Elijah Taylor out at least thrugh the spring with a Lisfranc injury.  Kelly has spoken very highly of rising junior Micah Dew-Tradway who has been running as the 2nd team DT as well.

Brandon Tiassum will be in the mix for snaps at defensive tackle as will rising senior Pete Mokwuah at nose tackle.

Will Darnell Ewell Play this Fall?

One less talented, experience defensive lineman on the depth chart could open the door for playing time for incoming freshman Darnell Ewell this fall as well.  Ewell has been pegged as a potential early impact freshman by many since he committed to Notre Dame.

It’s never a good thing to count on a true freshman at an interior defensive line position, but Notre Dame might have to call on Ewell for a few snaps a game this fall unless some players who haven’t seen much playing time to this point in their careers improve over the next few months.

Landing Scott Pagano would have been a huge addition for Notre Dame and for a while it looked like the Irish had as good of a chance as anyone at adding the former Clemson lineman to their roster.  It’s not the end of the world but given all of the questions Notre Dame has on the defensive line it certainly would have been a boost for a unit where Notre Dame is still searching for many answers.

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  1. A big disappointment to be sure. Elko will have his work cut out for him, no thanks at all to BVG who did a lousy job developing the defense.

    For BK this is bad news too. He can’t afford to have a rebuilding year. I know some fans think otherwise, but I happen to think if ND has another bad year he will be gone. Money does talk and if your casual fans walk away because of another bad year, the wallet will start shrinking and ND will respond accordingly. The exact record ND needs to have to save his skin is debatable, but have another losing season I have no doubt he will get fired. I figure anything less than 8-4 and he’s definitely out.

  2. PAGOGANO is defensive line Hurls! He just put the IRISH in his list for attention. Lets just move on with what we have and the kids who want to be here!!

  3. We could have used Pagano, but I don’t think we need him. The guys we have should play at a higher level this year.

    1. I agree with Bob Rodes. Harry Heistand has been building a stable of studs for awhile, now. Anyone remember “next man-in”? Pagano would have been nice, especially wit the good luck ND has had with Hawaiians. (Teo, 1988 Reggie Ho) Our Irish have been building without the expectation of Pagano. Let’s enjoy Harry’s work!

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