Emerging Irish: young players step up amid injuries for Notre Dame football

Notre Dame running back Logan Diggs (22) breaks multiple tackles in the second half an NCAA...
Notre Dame running back Logan Diggs (22) breaks multiple tackles in the second half an NCAA college football game against Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)(Mike Caudill | AP)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:41 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame Football is all about the next man in mentality and that’s certainly been the case this year and younger players are stepping up when vets go down with injuries and most recently, the flu.

Four members got their first career starts.

Rylie Mills earned himself the game ball with four tackles, two for a loss and two sacks.

Linebacker Xavier Watts had a career high with five tackles.

“Certainly it was necessary to have those guys out on the field,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “We had a number of guys that were certainly injured. But I think just the development during the year too. Some of them weren’t ready to play at a high level and I think as the year went on, they were called upon.”

Offensively, freshmen Logan Diggs and Lorenzo Styles have given the Irish an added spark.

“I think it speaks for all the freshmen where in the past, freshmen haven’t always played,” wide receiver Braden Lenzy said. “They’ve put themselves in a situation where not just themselves but everyone around them feels very comfortable with them going in. You know as much as it sucks to see Avery [Davis] down, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that they’d be able to pick up what we’ve been missing.”

Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday at 2:30.

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