Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 77 Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4, 304 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Junior with three years of eligibility remaining including 2017
Depth chart: Tiassum resides in the unproven depths of the defensive tackle position. With junior Jerry Tillery and senior Jonathan Bonner as the presumptive starters, and senior Daniel Cage as a prominent backup, Tiassum competes with the likes of junior Micah Dew-Treadway and senior Pete Mokwuah for playing time. Incoming freshman Darnell Ewell will likely jump to the forefront of that pack quickly this summer while his classmate Kurt Hinish will also join the fray.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star recruit, Tiassum received an early scholarship offer from Notre Dame and committed early in the recruiting cycle. Coming ffrom a small Indiana high school, Tiassum was lightly-recruited.
CAREER TO DATE
Tiassum preserved a year of eligibility in 2015. He did not appear in any games last season, either.
When junior Elijah Taylor was ruled out for spring practices and much of the summer due to a foot injury, Irish coach Brian Kelly mentioned Tiassum as one of the primary options to fill in for him.
“Brandon Tiassum will have to continue to get better, and he has been,” Kelly said. “[Tiassum and junior Micah Dew-Treadway] will continue to get more work.”
A few weeks later, Kelly praised Tiassum’s development, even if it has been slightly delayed.
“He’s coming on,” Kelly said. “He came from a program that really was a basketball program and he’s been in a learning mode, and we’re seeing some signs.”
WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“Get on the field and this year is a success. With Micah Dew-Treadway injured and Grant Blankenship off the roster, perhaps there’s a better chance to do that than there was entering camp. But Tiassum right now is a big anonymous body in a jersey. You can like the physical profile and the kind words from [former Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaac] Rochell, but he’s a complete wild card.
“Realistically, Tiassum is a long way from the field, but he’s got a chance to play if the Irish get a game out of hand or injuries hit. So while he’s certainly moved the needle in the right direction, my expectations are still limited—impressive if he finds his way into the college game.”
Tiassum did not get on the field in 2016, meaning he did not succeed by Keith’s metrics. If applying a similar gauge to this coming season, Tiassum may not succeed again.
He is currently stuck behind both Tillery and Cage. Ewell’s arrival this summer will likely knock Tiassum down another peg. It should be noted: That is as much a compliment to Ewell and a high bar for expectations of the incoming freshman as it is anything else. If and when Ewell surpasses Tiassum, even a rash of Irish injuries would not get the junior onto the field.
Nonetheless, it is hard to fathom a second eligibility-using season without any action. If for no other reason than to see how he reacts to a game atmosphere, the Notre Dame coaching staff will likely try to get Tiassum into a game or two, but it remains doubtful he is asked to contribute in meaningful action.
DOWN THE ROAD
Further complicating Tiassum’s future, those filling the depth chart ahead of him largely have eligibility remaining. Even if Tillery were to jump to the NFL early following the 2017 season, only he and Cage would be gone in 2018. If Tiassum cannot elevate himself over Bonner and Taylor at this point, or even Ewell, then it is tough to project him doing so in a year.
2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State