Notre Dame’s secondary is getting an infusion of talent with the class of 2022 and the commits in the class of 2023 but needs some more immediate help for the 2022 season – as evidenced in the Fiesta Bowl. It appears as though the Irish have zeroed in on one particular target in that area – former Northwestern All-American safety Brandon Joseph who entered the transfer portal last week. According to Blue & Gold Illustrated, Joseph is visiting Notre Dame this weekend.
With Kyle Hamilton off to the NFL and a string of poor recruiting classes at the safety position since Hamilton signed with the Irish in 2019, Notre Dame could use an impact player at the backend of the secondary. For six weeks, Notre Dame did a fine job of covering for the loss of Hamilton, but with a month to prepare, Oklahoma State finally exposed a secondary that was missing its eraser.
Brandon Joseph would undoubtedly fit the bill of an impact player. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, Joseph hauled in six interceptions in just nine games for the Wildcats, including one of the most ridiculous picks of the season on Justin Fields in the Big Ten Championship game.
Having a defensive back who can make that kind of plays against Ohio State sure would be an excellent addition for the season opener, wouldn’t it?
Joseph’s 2020 campaign also included 52 tackles and eight passes defended, earning him unanimous All-American honors in the process. His interception total fell off a bit in 2021 with 3 in 9 games, but that would still have been tied for the team lead for Notre Dame. He added 80 tackles with 1.5 for loss, including his first career sack. Joseph also dabbled as a punt returner, averaging 28.5 yards a return on four tries.
Because of the free COVID year in 2020, Joseph still has three years of eligibility remaining even though he will be a senior class-wise in 2022. Still, with that much remaining eligibility, it’s possible that he would provide help beyond 2022 for the Irish should he decide to transfer to Notre Dame after his visit.
Notre Dame did receive good news with the return of Houston Griffith for a 5th season earlier this week, but should Notre Dame land Joseph and get DJ Brown back in 2021, it will be interesting to see how the secondary shakes out.