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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 27 J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker

JD Bertrand

J.D. Bertrand (

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: An incoming freshman, Bertrand has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: Given the stockpile of legitimate contenders for playing time goes three-deep at Mike linebacker — arguably Bertrand’s best fit — but only two-deep at Buck, expect Bertrand to be considered the third-string Buck linebacker behind junior Jordan Genmark Heath and sophomore Jack Lamb.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect, Bertrand de-committed from Georgia in the fall, took two unofficial visits to Notre Dame and signed with the Irish despite lacking a promise of a scholarship. His recruitment was handled in a very specific manner — no official visit in either direction — to allow for a possible academic scholarship, an unnecessary dance when viewed six months later.

Even on December’s National Signing Day, Bertrand’s scholarship situation could have been viewed with more clarity than it was publicly. Notre Dame has never actually sweated the 85-scholarship limit; still at 86 currently, no perspiration has reached the figurative brow. Irish recruiting coordinator Brian Polian was unconcerned when Bertrand signed.

“I’m not going to get into that in particular only to say we are absolutely thrilled to have him be a part of our class and our family,” Polian said. “I know that the scholarship count through the spring and summer becomes a really popular topic in the social media world. … We have a plan, coach Kelly has a very clear plan, we’re very comfortable with it.”

Indeed, Irish head coach Brian Kelly said this week the 85 limit will not be a problem, though he did not go into further specifics.

“I’m not going to commit to the 85 scholarships in terms of that nuance of words,” Kelly said. “They are on our active roster. We’ll see how that kind of plays itself out.”

Yes, Kelly was vague, plausibly leaving the door open for Bertrand to still end up on an academic scholarship this season, but it is more likely the roster experiences a departure, be it by dismissal, transfer or medical hardship.

“Odd handling of his commitment aside, Bertrand is a four-star linebacker out of Georgia. Take those when they are available and figure the rest out later. The risk is a burned roster spot. The reward is a high-impact player. Bertrand looks to skew toward the better end of that spectrum.”

To go from June arrival to leapfrogging both Genmark Heath and Lamb by the end of the fall would be quite a surprise, especially given Genmark Heath has been trending toward playing time since making the move forward from safety in the spring of 2018 and Lamb impressed throughout this spring.

Scout team work looks to be on the docket for Bertrand, likely preserving a year of eligibility this season unless he entrenches himself in a special teams coverage role.

Aside from needing the strength and conditioning that all freshmen need, Bertrand may be ready right now to face the run. His technical skills — hand placement, block engagement, tackling form — look to be that well-developed. His work in coverage, however, needs improvement, and a year of scout team reps should only aid that cause.

Notre Dame’s linebacker corps is a young group, broadly speaking. Genmark Heath is one of the older players, and he has two more seasons of eligibility remaining. (Lamb has four.) Waiting for them to matriculate will be an exercise in patience for Bertrand.

At Mike, sophomores Shayne Simon and Bo Bauer each have three years of remaining eligibility while fifth-year Asmar Bilal enters his final fall. If Bertrand does indeed spend this season on the sidelines, he would be two years behind Simon and Bauer, possibly setting him up to move to the middle in the future, where his run-game acumen would be best utilized.

WHY (hypothetically) NO. 50?
By the end of the month, it may be revealed Bertrand has a number nowhere near here, but for now, it fits a hole in the roster and puts Bertrand amongst the plethora of Irish linebackers. Thus, it makes sense.

If curious, he wore No. 10 in high school, but fifth-year receiver Chris Finke wears that number currently, and it would make more sense for an incoming safety than for an incoming linebacker, for as little as logic is worth in these regards.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore