Notre Dame to Name Marcus Freeman as the Next Head Coach

Notre Dame to Name Marcus Freeman as the Next Head Coach


Notre Dame to Name Marcus Freeman as the Next Head Coach


John Mersits/South Bend Tribune

Following Monday’s breaking news which saw Notre Dame longtime head coach Brian Kelly leave the program for LSU, Notre Dame is expected to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman as the program’s 32nd head coach in school history, according to multiple sources. 

Freeman started his coaching career in 2011 with the Kent State Golden Flashes as the linebackers coach. He eventually worked his way up to be the co-defensive coordinator at Purdue in 2016. Freeman made the switch to the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2017 as the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator. 

In 2018, Cincinnati led the AAC in rushing defense, scoring defense, and total defense. The team also ranked among the top 15 in the FBS for all categories. Following the 2020 season where he was named the 247 Defensive Coordinator of the Year, Freeman joined the Notre Dame staff under Kelly as the team’s defensive coordinator.

In his first season with the Irish, Notre Dame’s defense ranked 11th in scoring defense (18.3 ppg), seventh in sacks (40), sixth in interceptions (15), and fourth in red zone TD percentage (36.84%). Notre Dame’s defense also recorded four touchdowns, which was top 10 in the FBS. Notre Dame’s defense held their final four opponents to 23 combined points and didn’t allow a touchdown in over 200 minutes of playtime. 

Freeman, who is only 35-years-old, received a ton of support to be Notre Dame’s next head coach on Twitter. Many of these tweets came from current and former players along with Notre Dame 2022 and 2023 commits. One of the key reasons for the push to keep Freeman has been his change to the Notre Dame recruiting push. 247 has him currently ranked as the third-best recruiter in the FBS for 2022, and the second in 2023 behind Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston.

This comes with no surprise as Notre Dame has racked up commitments from various four and five stars on defense including 2022 five star LB Jaylen Sneed, four-star LB Niuafe Tuihalamaka, four-star LB Joshua Burnham, and four-star DE Tyson Ford. Notre Dame also has seen commits from 2023 five-star DE Keon Keeley, five star LB Drayk Bowen, and four-star Brenan Vernnon. In total, Notre Dame’s 2022 class which ranks 5th in the country is the first time since 2013 that the Irish have landed a top 5 class. Their 2023 class currently ranks No. 2. 

Freeman is expected to have massive help on the offensive side of the ball as offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is to remain at the school after having an offer to join Kelly at LSU. Tight ends coach John McNulty and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens will both stay with the program. Notre Dame is currently the No. 6 team in the nation and pushing for a playoff spot where they will look to rally under new head coach Marcus Freeman and push for the national title. 


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