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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame freshmen lend helping hand

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame hasn't worried too much about experience in the first half of the season.

The Irish (4-2) have played 11 freshmen so are this season, and that has been a benefit to the first-year players.

"I think it is cool," said freshman defensive end Isaac Rochell, who has played in all six games and has three tackles, on Tuesday. "I think, especially this summer, working out and stuff, we gelled. It is kind of this common thing of we're ready, we're going to work hard. I think it has been cool to see guys develop, and when they go in they are making plays. I think that is cool."

Former Bishop Luers star Jaylon Smith headlines the group of first-year players making contributions right away.

Smith has started every game and is fifth on the team in tackles with 27.

But Smith isn't the only freshman to start.

Receivers Corey Robinson, Will Fuller and James Onwualu have also started, and the Robinson and Fuller have combined for six catches for 114 yards.

Running backs Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant, who is sidelined with a knee injury, have also contributed to the offense, combining for 84 yards on 14 carries.

Other freshmen who have played this season include offensive lineman Steve Elmer, cornerbacks Devin Butler and Cole Luke as well as safety Max Redfield, who has only appeared on special teams so far.

"I think it shows a lot of our character," Onwualu said of the freshmen playing. "We all work very hard every day just to try to help out the team. A lot of us aren't too selfish. We all try to do what we can for the team to help get a win, and I think that shows a lot about what our class is."

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