Alohi Gilman transferred to Notre Dame last season after starting as a safety at Navy when he was a freshman, and Brian Kelly hoped he’d be available to the Irish in 2017.
Gifted with potential NFL talent, Gilman had to make a decision prior to his third year at the Naval Academy because a rule change by the Department of Defense no longer allows cadets to pursue a career in professional sports before their service.
Gilman applied for a waiver because when he signed with Navy, he was under the impression that he’d be able to pursue an NFL career first if the opportunity presented itself and thought the rule change might grant him special circumstance. However, the NCAA did not rule in his favor and he was forced to sit out a year.
On Saturday, he made his anticipated public debut and gave fans a glimpse of what may come.
“He’s what we thought he’d be,” Kelly said after the Blue-Gold game concluded, according to Irish Sports Daily.
“He’s making things happen back at that safety position,” he added, according to Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune.
Gilman finished with 6 tackles and a forced fumble, and all but one of those tackles came in the first quarter against the first-team offense.
Even with all of Notre Dame’s starting safeties back, Gilman looks like he’s destined to either start or be a part of the rotation as the Irish look to add playmaking ability in the back of their defense after the safety group recorded no interceptions in 2017.