Notre Dame CB Julian Love, DT Jerry Tillery, and LB Te'von Coney were named AP All-Americans on Monday.
Love was named a first-team All-American, the first Irish cornerback to earn that honor since Shane Walton in 2002. Love recorded 61 tackles and 15 PBUs this season, tied for eighth in the country, and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back.
Tillery was named to the second team after leading Notre Dame with eight sacks this season, to go with 30 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss.
Coney was named a third-team All-American. The senior linebacker led the team in tackles for the second-straight year with 107. He also notched 3.5 sacks, 9 TFLs, and one interception.
As good as the defense has been this season, Julian Love believes they can get even better.
"I think our defense could get better in a lot of ways," Love said. "I think the main component to that is rest and recovery. I think we've been grinding all season, and a lot of guys have been playing a lot of snaps. I know Drue and Te'von for the linebackers have played the most snaps on our defense, and that takes a toll on the body. So allowing -- this week and the other weeks going forward allows a little bit more rest, but then we're ready to go and really ground the fundamentals of tackling and develop our game plan and really be able to execute it to the best of our abilities. And not just execute it, but know it. The players knowing the game plan and why we're doing certain things, I think is huge, and Coach Lea stresses that, and he relays that message very well. That's what this whole month, basically, before the game will be."
This marked the first time since 1993 that the Irish had three defensive players named to the AP All-America team.