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senior day 2021

Defensive end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa steps up as captain in his senior season

| Friday, November 19, 2021

Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is no stranger to adversity. The fifth-year defensive end and captain is filling in first year defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman’s defensive front now, but his journey to this role has been anything but a simple one.

Tagovailoa-Amosa made his commitment to Notre Dame official in February of 2017. As a rookie, he would see valuable field time right away, providing the Irish defensive line with much needed depth. Tagovailoa-Amosa would appear in all 13 games his first year in South Bend and recorded nine tackles and two tackles for a loss. With a promising uptick, Tagovailoa-Amosa was primed to have more field time and production in his sophomore campaign. 

But in the opening game against Michigan, he suffered a broken foot in the fifth metatarsal. True freshman Jayson Ademilola filled in, as the required surgery rendered Tagovailoa-Amosa out for effectively the whole season up until the 3-30 onslaught against Clemson in the CFP Semifinals. He recorded 2 tackles in that game and 0.5 tackles for a loss; which would also serve as his season totals. However, due to a change in the NCAA redshirt rules in the 2018 season, Tagovailoa-Amosa was able to retain a year of eligibility.

Though the Irish missed out on a playoff bid the next year, Tagovailoa-Amosa finished the season with 23 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, six QB hurries and a fumble recovery. It was his standout season, but on the edge he is proving a force to be reckoned with. He is already outpacing those numbers this year with 20 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and a forced fumble with two games still remaining on the regular season slate. It should also be noted that Tagovailoa-Amosa missed Notre Dame’s last game against Virginia due to illness. 

Tagovailoa-Amosa was named a captain this summer but not in a way that he ever would have imagined. In mid-August, Tagovailoa-Amosa lost his father, Tuli Amosa. And in the midst of summer camp he flew all the way back to Hawaii to honor the life of his father, the man who taught Tagovailoa-Amosa about family, faith and football. While he was away from the team in Hawaii, Brian Kelly released his team captains for the season. When Myron zoomed into the meeting, he was greeted by all of his teammates and coaches filling the Guglielmino Athletics Complex with leis around their necks. This was an act that showed Myron that his team had his back no matter what and wanted to recognized his late father in his time of mourning. Fighting back tears, Myron spoke to his team and just two days later, he would surprise Marcus Freeman when he showed up at practice immediately after arriving in South Bend all the way from Hawaii. Tagovailoa-Amosa was set to prove to himself that he had rightly earned the title of captain, and he was going to do it all in dedication to his late father. 

When Brian Kelly was asked about Tagovailoa-Amosa after the summer practice when he returned from Hawaii, he did not sell his captain short of any praise. 

“He’s beloved. Players really respect him and again I think a lot of it has to do with who he is and how he’s grown,” Kelly said.

Max Petrosky | The Observer
Irish graduate student defensive end evades a blocker during Notre Dame’s 27-13 win over Purdue on Sep. 18 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Tagovailoa-Amosa is technically still eligible for a sixth year with the Irish due to the pandemic season. Though his stats might not be as jaw-dropping as say a Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, they don’t necessarily tell the whole story. Unless NFL scouts have been living under a rock for the past few months, they’ll realize the leadership role and true effect Tagovailoa-Amosa has in his new role on the edge of Marcus Freeman’s defensive line. 

For Tagovailoa-Amosa, football is important, but there are always more important things in life — one of which being the people you encounter along the way. He would highlight this in an October Irishography.

“As I reflect on my time here I think the biggest takeaway is the relationships that I have made here. Just a lot of people full of class and respect that you don’t meet anywhere else,” he said. “I feel like the Notre Dame community and the relationships that I have built here are something that will last forever and I will cherish forever.”

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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