The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, January 08, 2022 10:40 pm

Northwestern safety Joseph announces ND transfer

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Former Northwestern safety Brandon Joseph, an All-American following the 2020 season, when he tied for the national lead in interceptions with six in just nine games, announced today he will transfer to Notre Dame. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

"Coming to Notre Dame is a legacy commitment for me," Joseph wrote in a statement announcing his decision. "The history of this program and the players who have worn this uniform are held to the highest standards in both football and education. I am honored to be a part of this next chapter in Notre Dame history. 

"For me and my family, Notre Dame presents an opportunity to continue my education at one of the best universities in the world, along with a chance to compete for a national championship. The Notre Dame brand is as strong as ever, and I plan to follow in the footsteps of football Hall of Famers who proceeded me. I plan to give the Irish my all and bleed Blue and Gold."

Joseph, a native of College Station, Texas, was an unheralded recruit in the 2019 class, ranked outside of the top 1,000 players in the country, per 247sports.com. He appeared in four games as a freshman, preserving his redshirt, before bursting on to the scene in 2020 with a season that earned him First-Team All-American honors from the American Football Coaches Association. He was also named the Big Ten Newcomer of the Year after racking up 52 tackles, one tackle for loss and eight pass breakups as the Wildcats finished 7-2, Big Ten West Division champions and No. 10 in the AP Poll.

Joseph's career highlight came in the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game, which Northwestern lost to Ohio State, 22-10. Just before halftime, Joseph was in single coverage against All-American wide receiver Garrett Wilson in the end zone. Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields lofted a pass to the back corner and the safety, in perfect position, made a leaping, one-handed interception. Notre Dame opens the 2022 season against Ohio State.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Joseph followed up his breakout campaign with three more interceptions in 2021, plus 69 tackles, a sack, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. This year, however, the Wildcats went 3-9, including six straight losses to end the season.

Joseph, who is the ninth-best player to enter the transfer portal this offseason according to 247sports.com, provides much-needed depth and experience in the secondary and should be in line to start at free safety in place of the departing Kyle Hamilton, who is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL Draft following an All-American career of his own with the Irish. Hamilton responded to Joseph's announcement on Twitter with a post reading, "#SafetyU."

Joseph's announcement comes just days after DJ Brown, who filled in for Hamilton after the latter suffered a knee injury mid-way through the 2021 season, announced he would be returning for another season with the Irish. Starting strong safety Houston Griffith announced he would do the same earlier in the week. Brown and Ramon Henderson are likely to be Notre Dame's primary backups behind Joseph and Griffith, though Henderson could move back to cornerback, his position in high school, with Joseph in the fold.

This is the second time in three seasons the Irish have brought in a transfer from Northwestern. Prior to the 2020 campaign, former Wildcats receiver Ben Skowronek, a Homestead graduate, transferred to Notre Dame to play his final season. He went on to score six touchdowns for the Irish and now plays for the Los Angeles Rams.

dsinn@jg.net


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