31 Things for Notre Dame Football to Be Thankful For in 2018

As Notre Dame fans across the country sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving today, we have a lot to be thankful this year.  The Irish enter their regular season finale 11-0 with a berth in the playoffs on the line Saturday night when they face the wounded Trojans of USC.  It’s a stark contrast to the situation the Irish were in two years ago entering the same rivalry contest.

Notre Dame fans should all be thankful that:

  1. Brian Kelly made all of the moves he did two years ago and has Notre Dame in a completely different world than the one it was in the last time they played at the LA Coliseum.
  2. Brian Kelly made the unconventional decision to bench a starting quarterback that was 3-0 this season and 8-3 last year (subtracting the Citrus Bowl since he got benched).
  3. Tevon Coney, Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill, and Jonathan Bonner all came back for the 2018 when each had different reasons for not coming back.  Without these four, the Notre Dame defense is not the elite unit that it has been this year.
  4. Jerry Tillery rebounded from a low point in his career two years ago at USC and has transformed himself into a 1st round NFL Draft pick.
  5. Mike Sanford convinced Brian Kelly to offer a lightly recruited quarterback from California who had been committed to Washington State named Ian Book in 2015.
  6. Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush have handled this situation so well when it was the type of situation that could have divided a locker room (and did to Notre Dame in 2016).
  7. Notre Dame beat Michigan to start the season so that every Wolverine fan has had to spend the last two months talking about why Michigan is the best 1-loss team because their only loss was to such a good team.
  8. Brandon Wimbush is the ultimate teammate and human being.  He’s been the full embodiment of what it means to be a student athlete at Notre Dame and that attitude is a big reason Notre Dame is 11-0.
  9. Dexter Williams came back from his suspension focused and recommitted to being the best player he can be. He is running just like everyone knew he could, but he is also much improved in pass protection this year.
  10. Clark Lea didn’t follow Mike Elko to Texas A&M when Elko took the money and ran in January.
  11. Chip Long didn’t leave last off-season when there were some whispers that Alabama was interested in Long for their then open OC position.
  12. Clark Lea has built on the foundation that Mike Elko laid for the Notre Dame defense last year after the train wreck that was the Brian Vangorder experiment at Notre Dame.
  13. Alohi Gilman transferred to Notre Dame last year and helped solidify the safety position for Notre Dame after years of instability.
  14. Jafar Armstrong flipped to Notre Dame two Januarys ago after previously being committed to Missouri leading up to Signing Day.
  15. Jalen Elliott did not get discouraged by a rough first year in the starting lineup a year ago and developed into a playmaking safety for the Irish.  Everyone wrote off Elliott in the spring, except Elliott.
  16. Drue Tranquill was able to come back from two ACL injuries in his career and play through a broken hand and sprained ankle this year without missing a game this season.
  17. Drue Tranquill’s injury versus Navy was not more serious because at the time it did not look good as he was carted off the field.
  18. Notre Dame finally dealt Stanford a crushing defeat this year after only winning two games against the Cardinal in the previous eight years of the Kelly era.
  19. Khalid Kareem and Dealin Hayes both decommitted three years ago from Alabama and USC to give Notre Dame the pair of bookends they’ve had all season on the defensive line.
  20. Notre Dame offered Julian Love back in 2014 when he was “just” a 3-star recruit without a lot of elite offers.
  21. Miles Boykin didn’t give up when the first 2.5 years of his Notre Dame career didn’t really go to plan with limited snaps before the Citrus Bowl last year now that Boykin has developed into Notre Dame’s #1 wide receiver.
  22. Chase Claypool has rebounded from a slow start to his junior year and is trending in the right direction for the Irish.
  23. The Notre Dame offensive line has gradually improved throughout the season despite starting five different starting combinations this year.
  24. Notre Dame currently has the programs all-time leading scorer Justin Yoon on the roster this year.  Yoon can also break the Notre Dame career field goal mark with his next made FG.  He is currently tied with Kyle Brindza.
  25. It was a relatively drama free off-season for Notre Dame football.
  26. The class of 2019 is stacked all over the defensive side of the ball with a class full of 4-star defensive linemen.
  27. Notre Dame finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record at home.
  28. All of the travel in November does not seem to have had any impact on the Irish roster after previous Novembers have not been kind to them under Brian Kelly.
  29. Notre Dame finally has an offense that should excite offensive skill position recruits and attract more than just elite tight ends.
  30. We do not have to listen to Doug Flutie again this year after another season of nauseating commentary from Boston College’s favorite son.
  31. Notre Dame beat Michigan on September 1.

Note: I stopped at 31 in honor of 31-30 which happened 30 years ago this year.  Notre Dame did something else 30 years ago I am hoping they do again this year.  Feel free to add more in the comments.  We at UHND.com are also extremely thankful for all of our readers and users who have followed us over the last 21 years. 

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  1. Give it up on Dan Flutie! Not only is he a good sportscaster, and a fair one, but your constant harping makes it look like you’re still sore that he walked away shaking his head when you asked him to dinner and a movie.

  2. There is indeed a lot to feel blessed about with this team. 1st) Brandon Wimbush!!!…I thank you for your heart and loyalty and believe I speak for every other alumnus, you will forever be a beloved figure of memory within the legends of ND!!! Thank you for your courage and talent that you easily could have taken elsewhere and by all means, would have been understood. 2nd) The Coaching Staff for their tiredless work preparing our boys for each week. 3rd) Every player on this fantastically fun to watch team!!!…thank you for all your incredibly hard efforts. You have truly made 2018 a wonderful season to witness!!! God Bless ND and lets get that National Championship Trophy back on the Sacred Grounds of Our Mother where it BELONGS!!!

  3. No 30 is the biggest reason to be thankful this year. What can be done to get rid of this clown forever? He should go to ESPN and help them promote the SEC more than they do… if that is even possible.

  4. I’m thankful for Coach Balis and the 85 guys who did what he asked for two years, AND for the Lady on the Dome, AND for the curious fact that even though all of our foes and all of our critics constantly preach to their players and their children that a really good plan followed by really hard work will pay off really big, few to none of them understand that it will also pay off for ND, (or anyone else other than themselves)…and so, incredibly, they did not see us coming this year (or last year either, for that matter). Stay in denial boys, though it is truly senseless to do so… “Confusion to our enemies and Blessings to our friends”


    BGC ’77 ’82

      1. BTW Frank, I think Doug Farmer over at “Inside the Irish” wrote an article somewhat similar to your’s only his was penned a day later and he had 40 things to be thankful for!

  5. I am very thankful my Dear Wife allows me go into my Notre Dame zone each week. She is very understanding. I gave Her heads up before marrying Her to not only be married to an Irish American but, a Notre Dame fan to boot☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️

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