Probably anyone that would be reading this blog has seen the movie Rudy. The Notre Dame coach at the end of the Rudy movie was Dan Devine.
Devine retired in 1980 and Notre Dame thought it would be a good idea to hire a legendary high school football coach. Gerry Faust was the high school coach at Cincinnati Moeller, one of the top high school football programs in the country. Faust was 178-23-2 and was awarded 4 high school football national championships.
Gerry Faust failed at Notre Dame and resigned in 1985.
I typed all of that simply to provide a quote by Gerry Faust and most people today have never heard of Faust or have forgotten.
Faust once said ‘my grandmother could recruit for Notre Dame’.
Well, Gerry, your grandmother is needed now.
The talent level at Notre Dame is pretty low at some positions, and I doubt even Lou Holtz would be picking the Irish to win the national championship this season.
I placed them at #17 because of their usual good defense. But, after looking at their roster and watching video, I am thinking I have them rated way too high and should put them in the 20s. But, for now, I am leaving them at 17 and as a fan of college football I do hope the Irish prove me wrong.
Everett Golson (6-1,185) who led the Irish to the 2012 national title game in which they were beaten soundly by the Alabama Crimson Tide is back after sitting out 2013. He threw for over 2000 yards in 2012 and is much more mobile than last year’s starter, Tommy Rees. Gerry Faust’s grandmother was also more mobile than Tommy Rees. Will Golson come back in the same form or be rusty from a year off? We will see soon enough.
Fighting it out for the back up job is redshirt freshman Malik Zaire (6-1,205) and senior Charlie Fiessinger (6-1,190). Zaire should win that battle easily. Zaire is a lefty out of Ohio that has a nice arm and excellent athletic ability. His high school ran the spread offense but they also lined up in an old school wishbone offense and Zaire ran it beautifully.
DeShone Kizer (6-5,215) is a 4 star recruit out of Toledo. QB comparisons get a little carried away and often a bit tiresome. Tall black QBs are going to naturally be compared to Cam Newton or Vince Young so I hate to go there and I won’t. But, I watched video of Kizer and I liked him very much. The competition is questionable in his Catholic League, but this kid has the tools. He is tall and he is fast and shifty for his height. He appears to have a strong arm and can throw on the run. He was only rated as the #16 best QB in the country, but that is all guess work anyway.
I think he could be the future of Notre Dame football. But, that won’t happen this year.
The RB situation at South Bend is not the greatest. Their 500 yard junior rusher left for the NFL and I feel that was a mistake. I wish him well.
Cam McDaniel (5-10,205) is the leading yardage gainer from a year ago and he is more of a short yardage back. He ran for 705 yards in 2013.
Tarean Folston (5-10,205) is a sophomore out of Florida and he is the probable starter in 2014. He only rushed for 470 yards but showed some potential.
Amir Carlisle (5-10,190) is a junior with 322 total career yards and may be way down the list, plus he just broke his collar bone. Soph Greg Bryant (5-10,205) only had 3 carries for 14 yards as a freshman but the potential is there.
The Irish lose big play guy, TJ Jones, at WR, but the next best thing does return, hopefully. DeVaris Daniels (6-2,205) was good for 49 catches and 745 yards. He was suspended for the Spring due to academics, but should be back for the Fall.
Chris Brown (6-2,190) had 15 catches and needs a break out year.
Tony Robinson (6-5,205) is the son of basketball legend David Robinson. David Robinson grew to his present day 7 foot frame when he was in college and I wonder if Tony is done with his growth spurt. He had 9 catches as a freshman and showed good potential.
CJ Prosise (6-5-220) brings a large frame to the WR position. He only had 7 catches a year ago. William Fuller (5-11,170) is a smaller, quicker type receiver than the rest on the roster and caught 6 passes last season. James Onwualu (6-1,215) played sparingly in 2013. Toreii Hunter Jr (6-0.190) son of the baseball great redshirted a year ago, but was highly recruited and brings a lot of athletic ability to the position.
The Irish signed 4 star recruits Corey Holmes (6-2,175) and Justin Brent (6-1,195) but they may redshirt.
Also declaring for the NFL was junior TE, Troy Niklas, but unlike some guys leaving early Troy has the potential to be drafted and do well. 6-7 TEs that can block and catch are a hot commodity and Niklas fills that bill.
TE is not usually a problem for the Irish and this year should be no different.
Ben Koyack (6-5,260) is a big senior with 10 catches a year ago and he should step right into the starters’s role.
Durham Smythe (6-5,235) and Mike Heuerman (6-4,225) are redshirt freshmen ready to battle it out for playing time. Both will need to bulk up to become the standard Notre Dame TE.
4 star Californian Tyler Luatua (6-3,245) could figure into the mix pretty quickly.
Offensive Line lost a few good ones, but they have some decent depth here.
Ronnie Stanley (6-6,320) from Las Vegas’ talent producing Bishop Gorman High, looks like the new Left Tackle. He started all of 2013 at Right Tackle and coaches want their best OT on the left side. Steve Elmer (6-6,315) looks to take over at Left Guard. Nick Martin (6-5,295) or Matt Hegarty (6-5,300) figure to be the starting center. Martin started but was injured and is out for the Spring.
Right Guard should be Christian Lombard (6-5,315) again but he has had back problems. If his back doesn’t hold up, look for John Montelus (6-4,340) or Conor Hanratty (6-5,310) to step up. Hanratty’s got to be on the field somewhere just because of his name, but he is a good player on his own merits.
Mike McGlinchey (6-8,290) is young, but very talented and he moves into the Right Tackle spot.
Hunter Bivin (6-6,290), Mark Harrell (6-4,305) and Colin McGovern (6-5,315) all could fight their way into the starting line up.
The Irish recruited well up front, adding Alex Bars (6-6,285), Quenton Nelson (6-5,300), and Sam Mustipher (6-3,295)
The Irish defense was hit hard by senior losses and two Defensive Linemen declared for the NFL. But, they should be strong again on defense.
Sheldon Day (6-2,290) and Jarron Jones (6-6,305) should start at the tackles. Both, either started or played a lot last season and they were productive. Justin Utupo (6-5,290) is a senior that has played little. Isaac Rochell (6-4,280) redshirted last year and will need to play quickly here.
Jay Hayes (6-5,270) , Daniel Cage (6-3,290) , and Peter Mokwuah (6-4,305) are incoming freshmen that will need to play in a hurry.
Romeo Okwara (6-4,260) and Ishaq Williams (6-6,260) are the starting DEs as of the beginning of Spring Practice. Chase Hounshell (6-5,270) has battled injuries and just tore his labrum and may be out a while.
Jacob Matuska (6-5,275) redshirted this past year and will need to provide depth along with incoming freshmen Andrew Trumbetti (6-5,250), Jonathon Bonner (6-4,250) Grant Blankenship (6-5,230)
Jarrett Grace (6-3,255) should start at MLB if he can recover from his broken leg. Joe Schmidt (6-0,225) has also played there and could either back up Grace or take the job.
Super Sophomore Jaylon Smith (6-3,230) will take one OLB spot and Kendall Moore (6-1,250) should take the other.
Nyles Morgan (6-2,225) is the top recruit coming in this season for the Irish and he could play early. Doug Randolph (6-2,235) and Michael Deeb (6-2,240) are redshirt freshmen that may push for playing time.
KeiVarae Rulssel (5-11,190) and Cole Luke (5-11,185) will be the corners. Max Redfield (6-1,195) and Austin Collinsworth (6-1,205) will be the safeties.
Notre Dame has a tough schedule in 2014, facing Florida State, Stanford, USC, Michigan and Arizona State. They may need a break or two to finish 8-4 and that’s where I have them. I should have them around 22 or 23, but we will see if they prove me wrong.