Early-enrolling freshman Andrew Trumbetti has taken some first-team reps at defensive end this spring, partly because of a thin depth chart and partly because at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he's physically ready for the job.
Trumbetti, rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, is getting leg up on the other defensive ends signed by Notre Dame in February by working in spring drills with the team. And he's caught the eye of his head coach after a handful of practices this month.
"He's got a great motor," coach Brian Kelly said. "He's got pretty good football instincts, and he's got opportunity."
But Kelly allowed: "If we had a little bit more depth at that position, we probably wouldn't be talking about him."
Kelly has raved about Trumbetti's athleticism -- pointing, on signing day, to the New Jersey native's role as a kick returner on his high school team -- and said the teenager has the size and strength to "mix it up a little bit" in the trenches. It's far too early to say if Trumbetti can make an impact on Notre Dame's defense once fall rolls around, but he's been given an opportunity to show that he can so far this spring.
Even, again, if it's still very early.
"I'd probably tap the brakes on the Andrew Trumbetti deal because he's a young kid, and generally what happens is it catches up him a little bit," Kelly said. "He's done really well, but it's a lot for him, there's a lot going on out there. But he's showed really well out there."