Defensive end Aaron Lynch arrived at Notre Dame last spring, and he made an impact in his first season with the Irish.
Lynch started six of 12 games and finished with 33 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks.
He said being able to contribute last season didn't come as a surprise to him.
"I was expecting to do what I came in here to do and that was play," Lynch said. "That was a goal I had when I came in. I didn't really surprise myself. I knew my talent. I knew what I could do."
What has surprised is how well he has been able to perform in the class room.
"I didn't think I was going to do as well as I'm doing." Lynch said. "I'm from Florida. We are some of the last people on the depth chart for academics in the state. I didn't came from a great school. When I came here I was like, 'Man, I'm going to be struggling.' But they gave us all the help. I didn't think I was going to do good, but they came with it."
Lynch said he will probably major in poetry and literature.
"I write my girlfriend some poems all the time, and those are the poems I take to class. And I get As on them," Lynch said.
Lynch added that his girlfriend also gives him As for his poems.