With fall camp just around the corner, the annual rite of passage of freshman numbers being assigned has taken place. Irish Illustrated had the original scope earlier this week, but we did a little more digging into the history behind each of the numbers including looking at which Notre Dame All-Americans wore the numbers this year’s crop of freshmen have chosen.
A lot of the 2014 freshmen have picked some unique numbers without much history behind them, but you will notice that a few of them have picked some historically significant numbers that are now bound to lead to comparisons throughout their collegiate careers. If some of them can live up to the history behind the numbers they are wearing, this year’s class will have a lasting impact on Notre Dame before their careers are over.
- #2 – Cody Riggs (CB) – Although not a freshman, Riggs is a new player on the Irish roster after transferring for his 5th year. At corner, #2 should be pretty familiar for Notre Dame fans after Bennett Jackson wore it the last three seasons as a corner for the Irish. Tom Clements wore #2 at QB for Notre Dame to All-American status in 1974.
- #5 – Nyles Morgan (LB) – Currently worn by QB Everett Golson on the offensive side of the ball. Manti Te’o made #5 legendary on the defensive side of the ball by winning almost every award possible other than the Heisman Trophy in 2012. Terry Hanratty, father of current OL Conor Hanratty earned All-American honors wearing #5 in 1968. The most famous #5 for Notre Dame is still the Golden Boy Paul Hornung.
- #11 – Justin Brent (WR) – No Notre Dame player wearing #11 has ever earned 1st or 2nd Team All-American status – a trend Notre Dame hope Brent changes. David Grimes, current assistant strength and conditioning coach, wore #11 as a WR for Notre Dame a few years ago.
- #13 – Tyler Luatua (TE) – Most recently worn by Danny Spond – and on senior day 2013 by Jaylon Smith – the #13 jersey doesn’t have too much history behind it at Notre Dame.
- #14 -DeShone Kizer (QB) – There isn’t much quarterback history with the #14 jersey for Notre Dame. Gary Godsey wore it as he split time between QB and TE. John Lattner wore #14 to Heisman glory in 1953.
- #15 – Corey Holmes (WR) – Last season then freshman Will Fuller (WR) wore #15 before switching to the #7 that TJ Jones wore over the last four seasons. Allen Rossum, one of the greatest returnmen in Notre Dame history, also wore #15 in the late 90’s.
- #19 – Nick Watkins (CB) – Watkins is taking over the #19 jersey that sophomore linebacker Doug Randolph switched from in the off-season when he took Carlo Calabrese’s #44. John Krimm wore #19 at the cornerback position in 1981.
- #23 – Drue Tranquill (S/LB) – Tranquill’s #23 has not been worn very often by defensive players but Golden Tate and Autry Denson both were All-Americans wearing #23 on the offensive side of the ball.
- #33 – Jhonny Williams (DE/OLB) – Williams made an interesting choice by selecting #33 as a defensive end/outside linebacker. Courtney Watson was the most recent standout to done #33 earning All-American honors in 2002.
- #43 – Kolin Hill (LB) – Hill didn’t pick a number with a lot of recent history for Notre Dame, but as far as Notre Dame greats at linebacker go, he picked a good one. Bob Crable was an All-American in back to back seasons in 1980 and 1981 before being a 1st round draft pick by the New York Jets. For Hill’s sake we won’t wish a future with the Jets on him, but back to back All-American seasons sure does sound nice.
- #48 – Greer Martini (LB) – Worn most recently by Dan Fox, the #48 jersey at Notre Dame was mad famous by Heisman Trophy winner Angelo Bertelli.
- #53 – Sam Mustipher (OL) – Mustipher will be sharing the #53 jersey with reserve defensive end Justin Utupo this season.
- #55 – Jonathan Bonner (DE) – Both Bob Golic (LB) and Mike Heldt (C) both earned All-American honors wearing #55 for Notre Dame. The number was most recently worn by Prince Shembo making Bonner’s selection pretty fitting since he could fill a similar role in Notre Dame’s new defense.
- #56 – Quenton Nelson (OL) – Two Notre Dame offensive linemen wore #56 to All-American status for Notre Dame in the past – Larry Dinardo and Dave Huffman. Given Nelson’s talent and potential, it would not be a surprise if he became the third Golden Domer to be an All-American wearing #56.
- #67 – Jimmy Byrne (OL) – Louis Nix was the most notable recent player to wear #67 when he wore it as a freshman in 2010 before switching to #9 and then #1 for his final season. John Dampeer was an All-American at OT in 1972 for Notre Dame.
- #71 – Alex Bars (OL) - No Notre Dame player has worn the #71 for a little while but two former Golden Domers at T were All-Americans for Notre Dame – Paul Seiler (1966) and Jim White (1943).
- #75 – Daniel Cage (DT) – Backup center Mark Harrell is currently wearing #75 over on the offensive side of the ball and the number has a pretty rich history for Notre Dame with seven different former All-Americans wearing it during their Notre Dame careers. Aaron Taylor (OG), Tim Grunhard (OG), and Larry Williams (OG) most recently.
- #82 – Nic Weishar (TE) – Alex Welch most recently wore #82 at the tight end position for Notre Dame before transferring to Miami of Ohio for his 5th year. The most famous #82 at tight end for Notre Dame of course though was Mark Bavaro. With Weishar’s skill, he could be the next All-American TE to wear #82 for the Irish.
- #85 – Tyler Newsome (P/K) - An odd choice for a kicker/punter. #85 was most recently worn by Troy Niklas before he left early for the NFL this off-season.
- #92 – Grant Blankenship (DE/OLB) – Most recently worn by career reserve Tyler Stockton, Blankenship’s #92 suggests a future along the defensive line is more in the future than OLB which was a possibility for Blankenship.
- #93 – Jay Hayes (DE) – There isn’t much history at Notre Dame with the #93 jersey – there hasn’t been a single All-American in Notre Dame history to wear #93. Can Hayes be the first?
- #96 – Daniel Mokwuah (DT) – Kona Schwenke wore #96 over the last four years for Notre Dame and there has been one DT to wear #86 to All-American status in Notre Dame History – Wally Kleine in Lou Holtz’s first season on the Notre Dame sideline.
- #98 – Andrew Trumbetti (DE) – Trumbetti got his #98 in the spring when he enrolled early. Anthony Weaver wore #98 for the Irish in the early 2000’s and while he wasn’t an All-American, he was a 2nd round NFL Draft pick who had a productive NFL career and has already transitioned to being a position coach for the Cleveland Browns.
And with all of that… football simply cannot get here fast enough this year.