Jafar Armstrong leads Irish backs heading into offseason

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The Notre Dame football team is now officially in the offseason after Saturday's Blue-Gold game, but there are still several pressing questions remaining.

One of those is who is going to step up at the running back position? Last year, the Irish relied almost entirely on Dexter Williams to carry the load, but with Williams graduating and hoping to hear his name called in next week's NFL Draft, that leaves a big void in the Notre Dame backfield.

One of the guys who hopes he can answer the call is Jafar Armstrong.

The rising junior made the switch to running back last season after coming in as a wide receiver. He had a break out game Week 1 against Michigan, rushing for two touchdowns in the 24-17 win over the Maize and Blue, but nagging injuries derailed his season.

Notre Dame though believes Armstrong has become much more of a complete back this offseason, and he proved it during the Blue-Gold game, leading the team with 85 yards rushing and a touchdown on nine carries.

After the scrimmage, Armstrong said he still has a lot of work left to do, but Brian Kelly is encouraged by the progress.

"I have a lot more work to do before the first game, but this is a great starting point," Armstrong said. "I feel like I definitely made some strides this spring and I'm excited for the season."

"He can catch the football," Kelly said. "He's starting to find a running back's vision if you will. He's really starting to understand how to stay perpendicular and cut. He's just learning and you can see that starting to come. We knew he was a physical player, but he's taken that step up."

Armstrong and the Irish kick off the 2019 season September 2nd at Louisville.