Less than one week after the unexpected departure of Brian Kelly, Notre Dame officially makes Marcus Freeman the new head coach for the Fighting Irish. Freeman has made a huge impact for Notre Dame in his short time in South Bend and the administration rewarded him with the keys to the program.
The university will hold a press conference on Monday to introduce Freeman and for him to address the media for the first time in his new role.
A Player’s Coach
As the defensive coordinator on an 11-1 team, and a coach who has been a difference-maker on the recruiting trails and in the locker room, Freeman will be one of the youngest head coaches in the country at age 35.
In the locker room, Freeman has won over the guys on the team and you can watch in this video how excited they were that the university made him the new head coach.
Defense Has Done Well
Under Freeman this season, the 6th ranked Irish are 11th in scoring defense (18.25 points per game) and 29th in total defense (339 yards per game). They are 18th in 3rd down conversion percentage (32.9%), 6th in defensive touchdowns (4), and 7th in sacks (3.33/per game).
In 2020, as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, Freeman’s defense almost pulled off a huge upset over Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They lost 24-21 but were up 21-10 going into the 4th quarter. This defensive effort, along with their entire season’s performance, sparked the interest of the Irish and several other teams.
Season is not over yet
The Irish still have an outside chance at becoming one of the four finalists in the College Football Playoffs. They would need some help and a few upsets in the conference championships later today. Iowa would have to win the Big 10 Championship over Michigan. Baylor would have to beat Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship. Alabama would have to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship.
If these upsets don’t happen, the Irish are projected to play Michigan State in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona on New Year’s Day. This is a rivalry game that has a lot of history. Both are new head coaches that want to finish the season strong and have recruiting momentum as they head into the offseason.
Freeman is from Dayton, Ohio, and was a Parade All-American at Wayne high school. He went on to play linebacker at Ohio State from 2004-2008. He is 19th all-time in career tackles for the Buckeyes and was drafted in the 5th round by the Chicago Bears in 2009. He has coached at Ohio State, Purdue, Kent State, and Cincinnati prior to coming to South Bend.