The Notre Dame receiving corps could receive a boost with the possible return of both Theo Riddick and TJ Jones for this weekend’s match-up with USC.
Riddick, Notre Dame’s starting slot wide receiver, has been out of action since suffering a severe ankle sprain against Western Michigan. Prior to his injury, Riddick was settling in nicely at wide receiver after spending his freshman season at running back.
TJ Jones was also back to practice and could play this weekend after missing almost all of the last two games. Jones wasn’t having the same impact as Riddick before his injury, but the true freshman had shown the ability to be a down field threat for the Irish offense.
While both receivers will be back, neither is listed as a starter on the depth chart for the game and how much, if at all, they will be available will be determined by how they perform this week in practice.
Here’s what Kelly had to say about the availability of both of his young receivers.
If you look at our guys, we have a couple of guys back. T.J. Jones, we’re going to address Theo Riddick, he will practice this week. They are not in starting positions. But we’ll see how that works out as we go through the week. They’ll get more work as they feel more comfortable.
Through the first six games of the season, Riddick racked up 37 catches for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns. Expand that out to a full season and you’re looking at a 74 catch, 790 yard, 6 touchdown season – pretty impressive numbers for a converted running back playing wide receiver for the first time.
Riddick was also proving to be the most elusive receiver in the open field for the Irish and with the emergence of Tommy Rees, having Riddick back on the field this weekend would be a huge boost. Rees has shown to be more accurate in the short passing game – an area where Riddick’s skills can really be showcased.
For now, Riddick is listed as the back up slot receiver behind fellow sophomore Robby Toma. Toma emerged over the last few weeks and has proven to be a reliable receiver for the Irish with 12 catches for 172 over the last 5 weeks.
Junior John Goodman is listed as the starting outside receiver opposite Michael Floyd with Jones backing him up. Goodman had a rough stretch of games and appeared to be passed on the depth chart by Duval Kamara, but Kamara is listed as Floyd’s backup for this week.
In other injury news, Carlo Calabrese is expected back this weekend while Ian Williams is not expected to play. Even with Calabrese back, however Brian Smith is listed as the starting inside linebacker next to Manti Te’o.
Note – Be sure to check out the coverage map for this weekend’s game. Most of the country will be getting Oklahoma-Oklahoma State on ABC. The game will also be available on ESPN3 and ESPN Gameplan.