Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is expecting big things from safety Jamoris Slaughter this season.
Slaughter finished last season tied for seventh for the team in tackles last season with 45. He also had four tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception.
But it is not just what Slaughter can do statistically that Kelly wants to get out of the senior.
The graduation of Harrison Smith left a leadership hole in Notre Dame's defensive backfield, and Kelly said Slaughter can step in to be a leader.
"I would say when you are taking names for guys who are leaders in your program, Jamoris is at the top of the list," Kelly said after the first spring practice Wednesday. "He's been elected to our unity council, which is a body within our program our players look toward for leadership.
"It's clear that he has that. He plays with a great deal of emotion and enthusiasm. I think you can check the boxes on a guy who can come in and give us what Harrison gave us from a leadership standpoint."
Slaughter doesn't just have more responsibility as a leader on the team this season. He is also a father now.
"I think he's probably in for a lot of things that he has no idea, either," Kelly said. "Sometimes ignorance is bliss. We are happy for him. We are happy for his girlfriend. Our players really like Jamoris, and they were tweeting about it, the new baby and all of that.
"Jamoris is a very focused young man, and his focus is on his degree, Notre Dame football and, certainly, his family. That's his focus, and that's just fine with me."