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irish insider

Asmar Bilal looks to past leaders for motivation

| Friday, November 22, 2019

As fifth-year graduate student, Asmar Bilal reflected upon his collegiate career, he looked fondly upon his time at Notre Dame and said that “it was just a perfect fit.” Any Irish fan would heartily agree with this sentiment as Bilal is a pivotal part of a stout Notre Dame defense and has certainly made the most of his time with the team. He has even stepped into the national spotlight this year as he has posted 61 total tackles, which already shatters his career best.

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish graduate student Asmar Bilal dives in a pile during Notre Dame’s 52-20 win over Navy on Nov. 16 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Bilal graduated from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis as a highly-recruited prospect who was ranked as the 23rd-best linebacker of his class by ESPN. His illustrious high school career included an Indiana Class 6A state championship over an unbeaten powerhouse in Carmel High School and a terrific senior campaign in which he recorded 155 total tackles, five sacks, and one interception. Bilal enrolled at Notre Dame despite offers from other respected programs such as Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Oregon, and Michigan.

As a student, Bilal majored in sociology while spending time in both Duncan and Dunne Halls. Bilal mostly played in a reserve role during his first two seasons but still found a way to make a huge impact on the field, managing to rank third in special team tackles. He finally had his break out moment as a senior recording 50 total tackles with 10 starts. When asked about his growth as a player, Bilal explained that he had “become more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the game.”

Bilal had the opportunity to learn from two Irish legends — Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill. He stated that they had become really good friends through their experience and praised their very successful time together on the football field.

“We had great chemistry,” Bilal said. “I could trust and depend on those guys. It was really nice playing with confident players, and I still keep in contact with both of them to this day.”

With the departure of these two players, Bilal has become the leader of Notre Dame’s linebacking core. He has shown the ability to perform at a high level during close rivalry games and his 11 total tackles were instrumental in the Irish’s three-point victory over USC. Even at the lowest point of Notre Dame’s season, Bilal still served as an example of on-field excellence and his nine total tackles was one of the only positives that emerged out of the 31-point loss to Michigan. When asked about his role as a team leader, Bilal described how he has passed down his knowledge to the younger players.

“It’s been rewarding to show some of the guys the key lessons that I picked up in my evolution as a player,” he said. “It has been really nice to see their growth this season.”

Bilal’s stellar performances have attracted the attention of NFL scouts much like his friends Coney and Tranquil before him. Looking towards professional life, Bilal made one thing clear he “hopes to continue playing football at the next level.”

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