Kyle Hamilton Named Top 101 Player For 2019
Pro Football Focus has released its Top 101 players for the 2019 season, and freshman safety Kyle Hamilton was Notre Dame's lone representative on the list. Hamilton checked in at No. 73 on the final list.
The list was intriguing, to say the least. Hamilton was the fifth highest graded starter or regular rotation player on the Notre Dame team. Wide receiver Chase Claypool, defensive end Khalid Kareem, defensive end Ade Ogundeji and defensive end Jamir Jones all ranked ahead of Hamilton, but none of them made the list.
"The fabulous true freshman safety for the Fighting Irish wowed in his first season in South Bend, picking off four passes and breaking up another five while allowing just seven catches to be caught into his primary coverage. He missed a few too many tackles to come away with an elite-graded season overall, but he more than made up for that with his prowess on the backend. He didn’t allow a single reception over 20 yards and saw a completion percentage of just 30.4% when he was the primary coverage defender. In fact, he allowed a passer rating of just 1.6 when he was targeted, and no, that’s no typo…one point six. He made 38 solo tackles, and 12 of them went down as a defensive stop. He continually began to improve his overall game grades as the season wore on — the sky is the limit for No. 14."
Hamilton finished the season with 41 tackles, and his four interceptions led the Irish defense. Only cornerback TaRiq Bracy led the defense with seven break ups, but Hamilton tied senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. for second with six pass break ups.
There were a number of head scratchers on the list. The fact that Notre Dame, an 11-2 team, had just one player is something I have a hard time accepting. There were 27 Group of 5 players on the list, and while I reject the notion that only Power 5 teams have the best players, I also have a hard time accepting that many players from the Group of 5 were better than players like Claypool and Kareem.
Temple, Florida Atlantic, UCF, UAB and BYU all had more players in the Top 101 than Notre Dame. 5-7 TCU and 6-6 Missouri had more players than Notre Dame, and 8-5 Texas had three players on the list.
I have a hard time believing there were 101 better football players in the country this season than Chase Claypool and Khalid Kareem.