Notre Dame hasn’t had the best of luck with NFL decisions this off-season, but they got some good, albeit expected, news over the weekend when Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa announced he was returning to Notre Dame in 2021. In the process, MTA gives the Irish some more lineup flexibility while replacing two edge starters.
Tagovailoa-Amosa made things official with a Wolf of Wall Street inspired tweet – just like Kurt Hinish did a couple of weeks ago.
Tagovailoa-Amosa had a year of eligibility remaining in 2021 even without the “free year” in 2020 from the NCAA, but it wasn’t a given that he would use it. Like linemate Kurt Hinish, MTA was thrust into a prominent rotation role as a true freshman in 2017 before being ideally ready for such a role. Unlike Hinish, he had a 5th year, though, because he lost most of the 2018 season due to injury.
In 2020, Tagovailoa-Amosa played in 11 games registering a career-high 6.0 tackles for loss. MTA had just 4.5 TFL in 27 career games before this season.
However, the most memorable play of MTA’s career came in 2019 when the big fella nearly outran the Virginia offense on a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Tagovailoa-Amosa came up just a few yards short before Tony Jones Jr punched it in.
With both MTA and Hinish back in 2021, Notre Dame boasts one of the country’s deepest and strongest interior defensive lines. Jayson Ademilola, Jacob Lacey, Rylie Mills, and Howard Cross join the fifth-year seniors to give the Irish an embarrassment of riches on the inside.
Notre Dame is so deep on the inside that it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Notre Dame experiments with some bigger defensive lines in 2021. Notre Dame loses both Ade Ogundeji and Daelin Hayes on the edges of the defense. Look for new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and Mike Elston (assuming he is not named defensive coordinator at Purdue) to give some of their more athletic interior linemen looks at SDE. MTA, Mills, and Cross all come to mind as athletic big men who could play on the edge.
Notre Dame has Isaiah Foskey, Jordan Botelho, NaNa Osafo-Mensah, and Alexander Ehrensberger returning on the edges, but only Foskey has played many meaningful snaps. Other than that group, the only edge players will be true freshmen in 2021, and all are expected to be more developmental prospects.
Tagovailoa-Amosa and Hinish’s return gives Notre Dame a lot of flexibility with their interior linemen. There is also still the option of Notre Dame pursuing a graduate-transfer to help provide some experience and additional depth on the edge.