Pro Football Focus released its Top 10 returning players at each position, and it named Notre Dame rising junior Kyle Hamilton as the nation's second-best returning safety.
There were a number of very puzzling rankings concerning Notre Dame players, but PFF nailed its ranking of Hamilton. A case could be made Hamilton is the nation's best returning safety, and it's certainly a case I would make, but ranking him second is certainly a sign of respect and acknowledgement of just how good Hamilton was last season.
"Hamilton stands at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, and he is one of the most explosive safeties in the game. His 42-inch vertical may have helped land him on Bruce Feldman’s 2020 Freaks List, but he also pairs his physical skill set with great eyes in coverage, making him a certified playmaker.
"Hamilton has compiled 16 combined pass breakups and interceptions and 15 passing stops as a true freshman and sophomore. Better yet, he was responsible for only three explosive pass plays of 15-plus yards over that span. The Notre Dame safety has generated the third-most WAA among players at his position over the last two years."
Hamilton took a big leap as sophomore, becoming a dominant all-around player for the Irish defense. He was outstanding in coverage just as he was as a true freshman, but Hamilton became an absolute force against the run.
Hamilton also had three hits on opposing quarterbacks according to PFF, evidence of his ability to make plays in every facet of the game.
He heads into the 2021 season as not only one of the top returning safeties, but one of the top overall defensive players. Hamilton earned first-team All-American honors last season by the Football Writers Association of America and Phil Steele, and second-team All-American honors from the American Football Coaches Association, the Walter Camp Foundation and The Athletic.
No safeties from Notre Dame's 2021 schedule made the Top 10 safety list.
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