Kyle Hamilton (14) on the ND sidelines while injured in 2021. (Photo by Chad Ryan)
When Kyle Hamilton first committed to play for ND in the Spring of 2018, the buzz spread quickly that he was a special talent.
In his three years at ND, he did not disappoint.
A two-way player at Marist HS in Atlanta, he played a little quarterback, but excelled as a receiver and strong safety. He was blessed with size, speed and quickness. Hamilton enrolled early at ND in June 2019. When he first reported he had packed on 20 pounds of muscle since the time of his commitment and checked in at an impressive 6-4, 220.
During Hamilton’s first spring and fall practices Brian Kelly played it coy, but word kept leaking about his spectacular play in practice. He went on to play in all 13 games as a freshman and recorded a “pick 6” in just his second game played. During that first season he notched 4 interceptions and was named as a Freshman All-American. To anybody watching it was obvious that he was an extraordinary talent.
Hamilton became firmly entrenched as a full-time starter in the 2020 pandemic season. He went on to lead the Irish in tackles and was one of the key reasons the Irish rolled to an undefeated regular season. 63 tackles, 7 passes defended and he earned First Team All-American recognition from the Football Writers Association of America. Two seasons into his ND career, it was obvious that his skills would be headed to the NFL, and sooner than later.
Sure enough his junior season was his last one at ND and despite suffering a knee injury that limited him to just 7 games, he was spectacular. Elected as a team captain, he roamed the field and made the kind of plays that were rarely seen. Against Purdue on a key 4th and 1 he came from across the field and stopped a jet sweep cold with an out of nowhere tackle that observers in the press box that day said was just this side of impossible. I was one of those observers and I have watched a million football plays, my brain told me that the play Hamilton made, couldn’t be made.
After 2021, Hamilton was a consensus All-American, and as expected the NFL came calling. A first round draft pick (14th overall) of the Baltimore Ravens, Hamilton is now a full-time starter. A few weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts, Hamilton set a franchise record with 3 sacks in the first half of the game.
Kyle Hamilton, ND 2019-2021, another Fighting irish Preview All-Time Irish Hero.