On the same day that Notre Dame added a future potential standout wide receiver with the commitment of Corey Holmes, a pair of current Notre Dame wide receivers, TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels, were honored by being placed on the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch as the summer watch list tour continues to roll on.
We’ve written already this summer that both TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels are ready to be prime time players for the Irish in 2013 after the Notre Dame passing game revolved around standout tight end Tyler Eifert last season and it appears as though the Biletnikoff Award foundation thinks so as well by placing the duo on their watch list of 75 players heading into the season.
Jones will be entering his fourth season in the starting lineup for Notre Dame and has improved his catch total each year he’s been in South Bend from 23 as a freshman to 38 in 2011 as a sophomore to a career high 50 as a junior last fall. More importantly, Jones drastically improved his yards per catch total in 2012 from 9.6 in ’11 to 13.0 a year ago and posted a career best four touchdowns.
Daniels meanwhile saw the first playing time of his career in 2012 after “redshirting” in 2011 as a true freshman. Once on the field, he made his presence felt with 31 catches for 490 yards. The junior wide out will, however, still be looking for the first touchdown of his career when Temple comes into town at the end of August.
Both Jones and Daniels were bright spots for Notre Dame in a BCS Championship appearance that featured very few positives for the Irish. Daniels posted a career high 115 yards on 6 catches while Jones added 7 catches of his own for 90 yards. Daniels big game came after the then sophomore sat out the last two games of the season with a broken collarbone suffered in November against Boston College.
For both Jones and Daniels, their chances of making the cut to semifinalist or even finalist will largely be determined by the quarterback for Notre Dame this fall. Tommy Rees has struggled with the downfield passing game throughout his career which could make it challenging for Daniels to take big strides after showing the potential to e a great deep threat for the Irish offense.
Meanwhile, the Notre Dame defense actually won’t have to face too many of the nation’s elite wide receivers – at least according to the Biletnikoff Watch list. Of the 75 receivers on the pre-season watch list, the Irish will face just 8 of them.
- Nelson Agholor – USC – Sophomore
- Aaron Burbridge – Michigan State – Sophomore
- Jeremy Gallon – Michigan – Senior
- Cody Hoffman – BYU – Senior
- Marqise Lee – USC – Junior
- Trey Metoyer – Oklahoma – Sophomore
- Jalen Saunders – Oklahoma – Senior
- Devin Street – Pittsburgh – Junior
In two contests, however, the Irish secondary will be tasked with stopping receiving corps featuring two Biletnikoff candidates – USC and Oklahoma. The Irish defense faced both passing attacks last year as well though and was not burned much by either. In the case of Oklahoma, the Sooner receivers will also have a new quarterback getting them the ball when they travel to South Bend at the end of September with Landry Jones off to the NFL.
Two other names on the list that should be familiar to Notre Dame were Shaquelle Evans and Deontay Greenberry. Evans, a Notre Dame transfer, left the Irish program shortly after Brian Kelly took over and established himself as reliable target for UCLA last fall with 60 catches for 877 yards and 3 touchdowns. Greenberry, meanwhile, never enrolled at Notre Dame after spurring the Irish on Signing Day 2012 for Houston and went on to catch 47 passes for 569 yards and 3 touchdowns as a true freshman for the Cougars last fall.