Before even touching the field – Notre Dame knew that the five star freshman safety, Kyle Hamilton was a difference maker.
Head Coach Brian Kelly, typically favors the veteran players in his lineup but at the start of camp Kelly took notice.
“He’s now got my attention a little bit more.”
For Hamilton to get on Coach Kelly’s radar that early let Irish fans know something was special about him. It was no surprise his hype would also garner preseason freshman All-American Honors. Now, Hamilton has gone wire to wire as he was just named to PFF’s All-Freshman Team of the Year
First Game Action
In Hamilton’s first action as a member of the Fighting Irish he showed off with an impressive pass break up.
A play that as I watch it months later – is still impressive.
— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) September 3, 2019
Not only does he obviously make the play on the ball but he covers some serious ground in the process as he was still dropping back in coverage when the quarterback stopped to throw.
He finished the night with two key pass break ups and four tackles.
First Interception Leads To Six
Of course, I will never get the credit for calling this right before it happened – although I definitely did – Notre Dame had perhaps it’s easiest matchup of the year in the home opener against New Mexico.
Hamilton jumps an out route and not only notches his first career interception, but also gave the Irish the first points of the game.
.@NDFootball strikes first with a PICK 6!
— Notre Dame on NBC (@NDonNBC) September 14, 2019
I swear, I called it – it is a Kyle thing.
Big Time Players Make Big Time Plays
The Irish dominated the Virginia Cavaliers earlier in the season. With the game really out of reach, Hamilton was getting some extra playing time and found a way to get his hands on a ball to give the Irish possession and run out the clock.
Then, and you can call the Virginia Tech game what you will, Hamilton sealed the deal with an interception as time expired. Although Virginia Tech was hoping for a miracle, Hamilton shut the door on any hope. Two timely fourth quarter interceptions
Finally, Hamilton’s fourth pick of his first season came against Boston College – again in the fourth quarter. The entire Irish defense deserves credit for that blow-out win but Hamilton making plays late in games is a hopeful trend.
Only Getting Better
With 25 total tackles to go with his four interceptions – Hamilton gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of so his wire-to-wire Freshman All-American status is really just validation to the young safety that he is on the right path.
According To The “Experts”
“Notre Dame landed the best coverage safety in the entire 2019 recruiting class. Hamilton recorded a near-elite 89.7 coverage grade in his true freshman season, allowing just seven passes to be completed on 22 targets. Those seven went for 74 yards and no touchdowns. However, the Fighting Irish safety stole possession four times by way of interceptions, and he forced another five pass breakups for a passer rating of 3.0 when targeted, best among all defenders in the nation with at least 15 targets.”