If there is a lineman that will be in Notre Dame’s backfield on Sunday in its opener against Florida State, chances are it’ll be Dennis Briggs Jr., a player the Irish line must be prepared for.
Briggs Jr., a 6-4, 278-pound redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, won the “Break the Rock” award that the Seminoles present every year. The award signifies the end of summer camp.
Florida State coach Mike Norvell said it wasn’t a hard choice.
Briggs opted out of the early part of 2020 because of Covid-19. He returned against North Carolina, which was the fifth game of the season. He finished with six tackles, one forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.
With a fully conditioned Briggs, Norvell is expecting a good season from the young defender.
“He’s just a guy that has worked hard in every way,” Norvell said. “To get the level he’s at now has been so special. He’s just had a consistent fall camp performance. Just his energy and his effort and playing with technique. He’s just a very disruptive force. You know when he’s out there. I thought it was a well earned accolade for him to break that rock. I’m excited about what this year can hold for Dennis.”
Briggs said that having a full spring and fall camp to get ready for the season has made a difference.
He said in fall camp interview his bench press increased 15 to 20 pounds and that his squat is up 20 to 30 pounds. Briggs said he's always been a big workout guy.
“I wasn’t in full football shape coming halfway through the season,” Briggs said of last year. “There is a big difference going through the preseason.”
Briggs played on the interior defensive line in high school. He doesn’t think making the adjustment will be difficult.
“I just don’t think it’ll be a big change for me,” he said.
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