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Notre Dame Insider Says There's 'Some Momentum" For 1 Coaching Candidate

A closeup of a Notre Dame football helmet.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: A detail view of a Notre Dame Fighting Irish players helmet showing the CFP logo during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against the Clemson Tigers at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Notre Dame finds itself in the unexpected position of looking for a new head football coach after Brian Kelly elected to leave for LSU.

Kelly's departure comes days after he completed an 11-1 regular season and with the Fighting Irish still in College Football Playoff contention. After the initial shock wears off though, Notre Dame should have plenty of quality candidates to choose from to be Kelly's successor.

One of those candidates could be defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. Freeman was hired last offseason, ironically after he reportedly was set to accept the same position at LSU.

The 35-year-old former Ohio State standout is well-regarded as both a recruiter and tactician, and longtime Notre Dame reporter Pete Sampson of The Athletic says Freeman has some support from some influential people in South Bend.

"If Notre Dame has to make a move at head coach, sources indicate there will be some momentum among decision-makers at the University to elevate Marcus Freeman," Sampson tweeted. "First-time head coaches generally don’t work here, but Notre Dame is in a more stable place today than previous hires."

If Notre Dame did opt to promote Freeman, it would be a bold move. The last two first-time head coaches the program hired--Bob Davie in 1997 and Charlie Weis in 2005--did not fare well.

Still, perhaps the powers that be will favor continuity and hope that Freeman can continue to build on what Kelly has established with the Fighting Irish.