Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into last season, Michigan State's William Gholston was the opposing defensive lineman Notre Dame fans were most worried about facing. This year, it's Will Sutton, the Sun Devils' All-American defensive tackle.
Don't get confused, however. Sutton is not a Louis Nix clone. He's just 6'2" and 275 pounds, but he's perhaps even more dominant than Nix. Sutton's 13 sacks were third most in the nation, and his 23.5 tackles for loss were second most. Having a first-year center and a first-year right guard against Sutton is a concern for Notre Dame.
There is also defensive end Junior Onyeali to deal with, a speed rusher who is at his best on third downs. Sophomore Jaxon Hood is the incumbent at nose tackle. While not overly big at just 290 pounds, he has the luxury of playing next to Sutton, who requires much attention from opposing offensive linemen.
Carl Bradford, who had 11.5 sacks in 2012, serves as the team's hybrid defensive end/linebacker, a la Prince Shembo for Notre Dame. His inclusion in this unit only adds to its dominance.