Notre Dame's improbable run to the BCS National Championship Game was spurred by its ferocious defense, which head coach Brian Kelly has built to be a fortress for seasons to come.
Per the current depth chart, the Irish defense will have eight returning starters next season, with the only losses being defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, linebacker Manti Te'o and free safety Zeke Motta.
While the leadership and tremendous play provided by Lewis-Moore, Te'o and Motta will be missed, Irish fans needn't be worried, for the coaching staff has been hard at work on the recruiting trail during the past three seasons coalescing a core of elite defensive talent.
How will that core stack up in 2013?
Let's have a look.