Notre Dame Houston Griffith

Notre Dame Houston Griffith

Ranking The Irish: #18 - S Houston Griffith

Notre Dame junior safety Houston Griffith must finally develop into a playmaker for the Irish defense
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The Top 25 players for Notre Dame in 2020 continues with a look at junior safety Houston Griffith.

This analysis for the Top 25 Irish players is a combination of talent, expected production, importance of that player’s role and also the value the player brings. The value aspect includes the position played and also the depth chart, meaning who can the Irish least afford to lose.

Let's look at why Griffith needs to be a top player for Notre Dame:

MAKING THE CASE

Griffith is one of several veterans that are on this list from more of a projection standpoint than a place of proven production. After moving around from safety to corner, to nickel, back to corner and then finally back to safety, the hope is that finally settling in at his best position will give Griffith an opportunity to finally break through.

A Top 100 recruit coming out of high school, Griffith spent most of his time working at nickel as a freshman in 2018. Griffith finished with 14 tackles and two break ups that season, but playing closer to the line fo scrimmage hid his best attributes. The same was true during the early part of the 2019 season when Griffith was asked to play corner.

He was eventually moved back to safety, but it was obvious Griffith wasn’t yet comfortable on the backend after moving around so much.

To understand why Griffith is important to the 2020 defense we must go back to the spring of his freshman season when the Chicago native was getting action at safety. Griffith showed a natural feel for the position as both a run defender and cover player. When everything was in front of him, Griffith displayed a high football IQ and the ability to make quick and decisive reads.

Griffith playing the alleys and over the top is when he was the most comfortable, and most effective. The hope is that now being back at the position will allow Griffith to finally settle in, show off his talent and force himself into the starting lineup, assuming he can stay healthy and on the field.

Getting Griffith to play to his full potential impacts the roster in two ways. The first is obvious, he is a talented player with the intelligence, size and athletic skills to be a playmaker on the back end. The second is how he impacts the rest of the roster.

Griffith at his best would combine with sophomore Kyle Hamilton to give Notre Dame a long, rangy and versatile duo. Griffith earning the starting role would also have a positive impact on grad transfer Isaiah Pryor by allowing the veteran to be more of a situational rotation player, which would allow defensive coordinator Clark Lea great ability to put Pryor in positions where his game is ideally suited.

Griffith not panning out or not staying healthy would make the second safety spot a bit more of a question mark than it is right now.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Plain and simple, Griffith needs to stay focused, healthy and finally start to produce.

When he's gotten opportunities we’ve seen Griffith show off the talent that made him a Top 100 recruit. The issue, however, has been consistency. Moving around as much as he has is a big factor in this struggle for Griffith, but he’s been at safety long enough now, and he’s been in the system long enough now, to become a more consistent player from both a focus and execution standpoint.

The two areas where Griffith’s inconsistency has been most noticeable is with his tackling and the occasional tendency to be out of position in coverage. Griffith is a quality tackler, but at times he’ll take a poor angle or not break down, which results in him missing. Again, moving around as much as he has is a factor here, but improvement is needed.

If he can clean up his tackling, be assignment sound and stay on the field I won’t be surprised to see Griffith not only secure a starting role, but also become a top playmaker for the Irish secondary.

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The Top 25 players for Notre Dame in 2020 continues with a look at junior safety Houston Griffith.

This analysis for the Top 25 Irish players is a combination of talent, expected production, importance of that player’s role and also the value the player brings. The value aspect includes the position played and also the depth chart, meaning who can the Irish least afford to lose.

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