Notre Dame's defense lost five of its regular front-seven starters from 2013 as well as its coordinator, but that mass exodus opened the door for Jaylon Smith to make his mark.
Notre Dame's defense set the standard two years ago, though if Brian VanGorder's crew gets back to that elite level it'll likely be accomplished by following a different path.
Jaylon Smith, for all he accomplished in 2013, is still a freshman. This is the first spring practice he's gone through at the college level.
No unit has more stability entering spring practice than safety, which returns its four-man rotation from 2013 while adding Max Redfield and possibly Nicky Baratti to the mix.