Updated: Jan 10
By Adam Aniba
The 2022 NFL draft class boasts some blue chip talent on defense. One particular defensive prospect that has impressed us is Notre Dame's safety Kyle Hamilton. Although he has another year of eligibility, his stock has never been higher.
NFL defensive coordinators are always on the lookout for field generals for backend support. Having a ball hawk that is versatile enough to align in single high coverage, in the box and even line up in the slot, will make Hamilton a hot commodity come April.
6'4" 220 lbs | S | Notre Dame
1st Rd Grade Top 15
Career Stats (30 games) 138 total tak 97 solo), 7.5 TFL, 8 ints 1 td, 16 PD
2021 (7 games) 34 tak (19 solo), 2 TFL, 3 ints with 4 PD
Kyle Hamilton was born in Greece, but moved to the US as a young child. Hamilton was a standout in AAU basketball through middle school and aspired to play professionally like his father Derrick. Kyle's father was drafted in the 3rd round, #52 overall, by the NBA's NJ Nets, but spent 13 years playing professionally in Europe.
Although football wasn't Kyle's first love, he joined the football team when he attended Marist HS in Atlanta, GA. It was evident, early on that his combination of size, speed and athleticism would take him far. Kyle's father later embarked on a career of personal training with high profile clients such as former Falcons RB Jamal Anderson and NBA stars Jordan Hill & Jodi Meeks.
Kyle's father applied the same training regiments to his son's workout and by senior year, his son was playing 2-way football. The Marist program was small scale (less than 1200 students) compared to the 1-A competition they faced. Nonetheless, Hamilton finished his senior year with 38 rec for 804 yds & 7 tds on offense, in addition to 72 tak, 8 pass breakups, 4 ints playing DB and 2 blocked kicks.
Hamilton was invited to the '19 All American Bowl and his versatility would gain the attention of his dream school, Notre Dame, among others.
Production & Accolades
After accepting a scholarship offer from the Fighting Irish, Hamilton kicked off his career with a bang, taking a 34-yard pick six to the house in his first career snap vs New Mexico.
The free safety recorded 4 ints in 2019, making him just one of four freshmen in FBS with 4 or more ints. His performance earned Hamilton The Athletic Freshman of the Year honors, which led to a selection on the Phil Steele All-American 1st Team.
In 2020 Hamilton recorded 63 tak (51 solo), 4.5 tfl, 1 int and 6 passes defended. The Notre Dame safety would be named to the FWAA All-American First team, All-ACC 1st team, Associated Press First Team and was a Bednarik Award Semifinalist.
In 2021 Hamilton earned team captain honors for the Fighting Irish and through 7 games recorded 3 ints. The Notre Dame safety is on most major college defensive back award watch lists.
Unfortunately the Hamilton dealt with a minor knee injury vs USC on 10/23, which kept him out of the regular season and he opted out of playing in the Fiesta Bowl. Not playing in the bowl game is a business decision and the best way to preserve his body for the upcoming draft.
Hamilton's fans believe he's a generational talent and a can't miss prospect on the next level. A safety hasn't been drafted within the top 3-picks since 1991.
Extremely long arms, advantage on jump balls
Fluid backpedal for a DB his size
Displays good anticipation when the ball is in the air
Offers size and versatility to play deep or close to the line
Elite football IQ with an understanding of situational football
A BIG factor on special teams (2 blocked kicks)
Sound tackler, not often fooled by double moves
Heat seeking missile with a seek & destroy mentality
Can be overaggressive vs the run
Too often looks for the knockout blow which can lead to missed tackles
Short area quickness is an issue, at times
Can get too handsy in man-coverage leading to PI's
Although capable of slot duties, can get exposed in that role on the next level.
NFL GM's looking for a franchise free safety will be hard pressed to find another prospect with Hamilton's combination of size and athleticism. Defensive coordinators will enjoy deploying Hamilton from a variety of positions all over the filed.
Similar to Los Angeles Chargers' safety, Derwin James, Hamilton is scheme versatile and will likely contribute early on as an impact field general. Hamilton is a student of the game with a high football IQ.
Interested teams, could have different roles in mind for the Notre Dame defensive back, which will only increase his draft stock. The next time we see Hamilton will be during his pro day and the NFL Combine. Hamilton has an opportunity to be the highest drafted Notre Dame prospect since Bryant Young was drafted #7 overall in 1994 to the 49'ers.
*Games Watched- 9/5/21 vs FSU, 9/11 vs Toldo, 9/18 vs Purdue, 9/25 vs Wisc,
10/2 vs Cin, 10/9 Va Tech, 10/23 vs USC and 10/30 vs UNC
*Team Fits- WFT, SEA, PHI, IND, KC, CAR, HOU, NYG, NYJ, DAL, DET, LAR, CLEV, CIN,
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