Entering his third season in the program and playing a position he’s built to play, Notre Dame is still waiting for the light to go on for Andrew Trumbetti. In a program that’s struggled to find prototype pass rushers, Trumbetti is one who is already on the roster—though he needs to put the pieces together.
Running second in a position battle with Jay Hayes, Trumbetti will have an opportunity to earn back reps—or lose them to younger talent that’s on the way up. It’s an important season for the New Jersey native who certainly will be given every chance to play a key role in this defense.
6'3.5", 255 lbs.
Junior, No. 98, DE
An UnderArmour All-American, Trumbetti was a four-star national prospect with offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami and Michigan State. He chose Notre Dame fairly early in the recruiting process and enrolled early.
A big-time recruit with a lot of pedigree.
Freshman Season (2014): Played in 12 of 13 games, missing Purdue after suffering a concussion a week earlier. Trumbetti notched one sack on the year but managed a more-than-respectable 5.5. TFLs.
Sophomore Season (2015): Played in 12 games, starting three. Made 16 tackles with 2.5 TFLs, including a sack and an interception run back for a touchdown.
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEARSwing and a miss.
As we look at the ripple effects of Jarron Jones’ injury, you’ve got to think there are going to be more snaps for Trumbetti on the field this fall. Whether that means Isaac Rochell shifting inside and putting Okwara and Trumbetti as bookends or just making sure your four best defensive linemen get on the field, Trumbetti is very close to fitting that distinction.
But we need to see results in 2015. As Keith Gilmore continues his work with a depth chart that’s got decent talent but needs to maximize its ability, Trumbetti feels like a test case. He’s not big enough to succeed as a thumper in a 3-4. He’s not long and quick enough to be a true 4-3 weakside defensive end.But he’s got plenty of skills that should make him productive.
I’m skeptical, but still feel confident buying that Trumbetti takes a step forward and ultimately think he’s going to be more productive than his veteran teammate Okwara. While last season was mostly learn on the fly, if the Irish defense is going to be a Top 25 unit, they’ll need players like Trumbetti to make more than incremental progress.
I think five sacks and ten TFLs would be a great sophomore campaign.
At this point the ceiling has come down for Trumbetti, no longer a guy who’ll have the chance to hit his star-rating, but far from a bust. His struggles to hold up in the run game—added to the fact that he hasn’t found a way to impact the passing game—make him the ultimate tweener, and a fringe starter for a team with lofty aspirations.
Listening to coaches, it doesn’t sound like it’s a physical thing, rather the space between the ears is still trying to process and compute what’s supposed to be happening on the field and playing with confidence needs to come next. Plenty of football players need two seasons for the light to come on, so let’s not bury the kid just yet.
There is a role in this defense for Trumbetti—maybe even a starting job if Jay Hayes can’t return quickly from his injured ankle. That open window should be one Trumbetti jumps through without reservation, because young guys like Daelin Hayes are on the horizon and may already have passed him when it comes to a pure pass rusher.
So much of this evaluation is based on opportunity and only Trumbetti can truly control that. I think Notre Dame’s defense is going to get to the quarterback much better this season than last, and if they do it’ll be Trumbetti playing a supporting role. Sign me up for four sacks and and hopefully getting to a half-dozen plays behind the line of scrimmage.
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