Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4 1/8, 309 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Senior with two years of eligibility remaining including the 2018 season.
Depth chart: Dew-Treadway should be considered the third-stringer at both defensive tackle positions. While senior Jerry Tillery and sophomore Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa will get most of the snaps at the three-technique position and fifth-year Jonathan Bonner and sophomore Kurt Hinish will handle most of the duties at nose, neither spot has reliable depth aside from the untested senior.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star, Dew-Treadway’s size alone made him a notable recruit. If his size could be developed with time in a college weight room, the Irish coaches may have found a contributing piece. That time in a college weight room began a semester early with Dew-Treadway enrolling in the spring of 2015.
CAREER TO DATE
Dew-Treadway has not made a tackle for Notre Dame. A year ago, that opening sentence pointed out his lack of a game in his career to that point, but in 2017 he saw action in nine games.
A broken foot cost Dew-Treadway all of 2016, while he preserved a year of eligibility his freshman season, needing to develop the aforementioned strength and conditioning.
Tillery’s switch to three-technique from nose tackle led to Irish head coach Brian Kelly pointing to Dew-Treadway as part of the viable depth at nose which made the move possible.
“Bonner will be back with us and we’ll move him to the [nose],” Kelly said following the Blue-Gold Game on April 21. “Kurt Hinish, Micah-Dew Treadway, so we think we’ve got three guys there, even moving Jerry to the three[-technique]. We’ve still got great depth at that position.”
Last fall, Dew-Treadway’s appearances were typically when games were out of reach one way or another. During Notre Dame’s 49-14 victory over USC on Oct. 21, he made a particular impression on Kelly.
“When they get their opportunity, they have to make us notice them. It’s not our job to notice them, it’s their job,” Kelly said. “… Dew-Treadway has done the same thing. There’s a bunch of guys on the cusp defensively. … Dew-Treadway [is a] guy that you’re going to see that is ascending in terms of what [he’s] doing in practice.”
WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“Sometimes a player’s size alone gets him on the field. That could be the case with Dew-Treadway this season. Notre Dame simply does not have many other 300-pound options to clog the middle. That was essentially the reasoning behind recruiting the raw prospect.
“Kelly mentioned Dew-Treadway’s work in the weight room. If that work is legitimate — and new director of football performance Matt Balis is able to get the most out of it — then Dew-Treadway’s tangible skills may be catching up to his size. One may be tempted to include the adverb finally in that previous sentence, but that would not be fair to Dew-Treadway. It made sense to spend his freshman campaign on the sidelines, and a foot fracture robbed him of the chance to get a handful of snaps in each game last season
“If he does not see notable action this year, such a disappointed syntax would be quickly appropriate. Dew-Treadway should be able to, at least, fill the middle for 10 snaps a game and total a couple tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. More than that would be a welcome gift for defensive coordinator Mike Elko. By no means has Bonner excelled so much that the opening is not there for Dew-Treadway to push for more opportunity.”
The greatest mistake in last year’s projection was not in how it pondered Dew-Treadway, but in how it diminished the expectations of Bonner and, to a lesser extent, the two then-freshmen, Hinish and Tagovailoa-Amosa. Bonner held the point of attack in the middle better than anyone expected, a large part of the reason he now moves to nose, where that is the exact primary responsibility.
Not to repeat the same errors of the past, but underestimating Bonner again may be the key to best assessing Dew-Treadway’s coming season. Bonner did not partake in much of the spring’s strength and conditioning work while recovering from a wrist injury. If that hampers Bonner at all in the fall, be it the wrist itself or a drop-off in his fitness, then both Hinish and Dew-Treadway will be needed much more.
With a healthy Bonner, then Dew-Treadway simply must provide vital interior depth at both three-technique and nose. That depth should keep the other four tackles both healthier and fresher, furthering their effectiveness.
DOWN THE ROAD
The Irish may face a genuine scholarship crunch this recruiting cycle, making fifth-year projections in 2019 even more difficult to get a handle on than usual. Dew-Treadway’s performance this fall will help the coaching staff make that determination, whereas usually any and all defensive line depth is welcomed.
Similarly, the day-one physical readiness of incoming freshmen tackles Ja’Mion Franklin and Jayson Ademilola will influence how expendable or necessary Dew-Treadway may be.
If Dew-Treadway makes as many as a dozen tackles in 2018, that should secure his place in the depth chart in 2019. If it is another fall of unproductive garbage time appearances, then the scholarship slot may be worth more than defensive line depth.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
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