Marcus Freeman’s first order of business after taking over in South Bend was to improve the Notre Dame Secondary in the absence of Kyle Hamilton. He immediately found Pre-Season All-American Brandon Joseph via the transfer portal. The former Northwestern Wildcat was one of the best defenders in the Big Ten and joined a core defensive group at Notre Dame.
- Position: Free Safety
- Grade: Senior (3 years of eligibility remaining)
- Hometown: College Station, Texas
- Transfer: Northwestern
- Height/ Weight: 6’ 1” / 192 lbs
- 2019: 2 games played, 4 tackles
- 2020: 8 games played, 46 tackles, 6 interceptions
- 2021: 12 games played, 79 tackles, 3 interceptions
*Most Interceptions in Big Ten the last two seasons
For the Irish, Brandon Joseph potentially has his best football in front of him. After playing two games his freshman season, only eight games in a COVID-shortened season, and no bowl game a year ago, the Northwestern transfer comes into South Bend fresh.
Joseph was overlooked out of high school
Brandon Joseph committed to Pat Fitzgerald and the Northwestern Wildcats as a 3-Star recruit out of high school. In his second season in Evanston, Joseph had a breakout fall with six interceptions in only eight games. The season was highlighted by a one-handed interception against a talented Ohio State Offense in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Joseph entered the transfer portal last winter and committed to Marcus Freeman and the Fighting Irish shortly after. The talented safety will be the second Northwestern transfer in the last few seasons for Notre Dame, joining former Irish Wide Receiver Ben Skowronek.
The new Irish Safety has the potential to be a 1st round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Notre Dame did not produce many first-round draft picks from the secondary this past decade, but with Hamilton, last year and potentially Joseph next year, the narrative could be changing. Additionally, with the current recruiting efforts of Marcus Freeman, expect there to be more first-round talent coming out of South Bend.
Brandon Joseph bolsters a strong Irish defense
Kyle Hamilton is undoubtedly irreplaceable, but the Fighting Irish added one of the best safeties in the country to take over at the position. Brandon Joseph joins a defense headlined by a strong defensive line and linebacker core. However, one of the most significant questions heading into the season will be the Notre Dame Secondary.
The 2022 schedule will feature high-powered offenses like BYU, Clemson, Ohio State, and USC, to name a few. Notre Dame will face two of the best receiving corps in the country, the Buckeyes and the Trojans. Joseph and the Irish Secondary will undoubtedly be tested throughout the season.
Brandon Joseph is unquestionably the missing piece Notre Dame needed in the offseason. His abilities will help the Irish throughout the fall and in week one specifically. Joseph was coached by one of the best defensive minds in college football, Pat Fitzgerald, and the Irish Safety knows what it takes to face elite competition.
Notre Dame will play against a lot of teams that are pass heavy. Brandon Joseph joins a secondary with a lot of experience but a group that struggled at times last season. Will the addition of Joseph be enough for the Irish to upset the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in week one? We will find out soon.