Kyle Hamilton walks off the field as the Irish warmup before the start of the North Carolina game. (Photo by Chad Ryan)

6-4, 220 pounds, huge wingspan, he once hit 21 mph on the GPS meaning it is likely that he is the fastest safety in the nation. Tight end eraser, linebacker physicality, cornerback fluidity, Kyle Hamilton the next great NFL safety.

From the time he first stepped foot on the collegiate football field he played like a veteran.

Hamilton was born in Greece while his father Derrick Hamilton was playing professional basketball.  The family moved back to the States and his formative years were spent in Atlanta, where he attended Marist High School.  A top 100 prospect nationally he was considered to be the prize of Notre Dame’s 2019 recruiting class.

As summer practice started before his freshman season, the buzz was immediate and loud.  Brian Kelly knew what he had as Hamilton picked off pass after pass in practice, but Kelly mostly kept a poker face about it.  After all his new weapon would be unleashed on the college football world soon enough. 

Technically listed as a back up to Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott,  Hamilton played in all 13 games in 2019.  His first snap played inside Notre Dame stadium came against New Mexico. He made the most of things. On the play he made an interception, and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.  He finished 2019 with 4 interceptions and a reputation that had gone viral.

In Hamilton’s sophomore year he led the Irish in tackles and he faced a lot of offenses that schemed their passing games away from him.  Not an easy task when it only takes a few steps to range from sideline to sideline.  All-American honors followed, and he became a fixture on NFL wish lists.

It quickly became obvious his talent was so great that his junior year would be his last. The season started with two interceptions against Florida State, and then a 10-tackle performance against Purdue.

One of those tackles was described on the Fighting Irish Preview podcast as follows: “Late in the 1st quarter, on a 4th and 1, Purdue ran a jet sweep.   As the play developed, my eyes judged that it was going to be a sure thing first down-after all my eyes have watched a zillion football plays, but none quite like the way this one turned out.  Instead of a first down, Hamilton arrived like a laser from 10 yards away and made a play that was simply outside my brain’s perception. The ball carrier was dropped for a loss and possession went over to the Irish. And I sat momentarily stunned, because I had just seen something I had not seen in over 50 years of watching the game.”

Kyle Hamilton is that good.

Unfortunately, his 2021 season and the ND career came to an end way too early for Hamilton when in the 7th game of the season against USC, he went down with an injury, never to don blue and gold again. None the less he was voted consensus All-American honors.

His ND career was a short one, but his talent left a indelible impression.

Kyle Hamilton will soon belong to the NFL, but for his often times amazing and graceful play at Notre Dame, consensus All-American Kyle Hamilton is an All-Time Irish Hero.

By Phil Houk

For 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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