Two Notre Dame defensive players make preseason award watch lists

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The preseason award watch lists continue to come out, and Notre Dame continues to be represented. We recently saw numerous Irish players on the offensive side of the ball be named. Now, we’re seeing the defense get its turn. So far, we know that two defenders have been deemed players to watch.

JD Bertrand’s 102 tackles led the Irish last season. Now, he’s a contender for the Butkus Award, which is given to the country’s top linebacker. The Irish are developing quite the reputation for winning this award as they have done so three times, all during the past decade: Manti Te'o in 2012, Jaylon Smith in 2015 and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in 2020.

Brandon Joseph comes to the Irish after three years with Northwestern, and there already are high expectations for him. The 2020 All-American is on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is awarded to college football’s best defensive back. He would be the first to win this award for the Irish.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire