For whatever reasons we didn't see a whole lot of middle linebacker Nyles Morgan last year. In 2016 Morgan will be starting and looking to make a major impact as Joe Schmidt's replacement. Not only will he make an impact but I think he's going to be the breakout star on the defensive side of the ball for the Fighting Irish.
The knock on Morgan (which I believe have been exaggerated) has been his inability to line up the defense. The middle linebacker is the "quarterback of the defense" and in defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder complicated defense with numerous assignments and alignments the MLB is responsible for Morgan was seen as not nearly as advanced as the slower and less athletic Schmidt. This will change in 2016 as from all reports Morgan has been the best overall defensive player on the field this spring.
While I'm not ready to establish #5 as the next Manti Te'o/Jaylon Smith I'm extremely excited to see what Morgan can do with a defense that struggled a lot in 2015. Morgan was a much hyped 4 star recruit who was seen as an instant impact type player. Two years into his collegiate career and it's been hard to tell if Morgan would ever live up to his lofty prep ranking.
This year watch out for #5. Not only will he lead the team in tackles but I see him contending for All-American honors.