This week we’ve been looking at Blue/Gold game MVPs of years past. Monday we took a look at some past Blue/Gold game MVPs who had big games in the annual scrimmage only to fall back down the depth chart in the fall and then on Tuesday we took a look at some past MVPs who ended up having breakout seasons the following season. Today, in our final installment of this series of posts, we’ll take a look at some players on the Irish roster who could fall into both of the categories we examined this week.
Possible Unlikely Blue/Gold MVPs for 2009
With plenty of potential starters banged up this spring, there is definitely the chance for someone to come out of nowhere to win MVP honors or have a big game this weekend. Kerry Neal, Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, Duval Kamara, Deion Walker, Darius Fleming, and Trevor Robinson have all missed time at one point or another this spring. If any of them are not 100% by Saturday, it’s a safe bet that they won’t see much, if any, playing time in the Blue/Gold game.
Here’s a few players who could have big games this weekend who haven’t played much so far or who might start the 2009 season farther down the depth chart.
- Scott Smith (LB) – With Darius Fleming limited this spring, Smith was listed as the starting SAM linebacker on the official depth chart. He’ll have a chance to make his case for playing time this Saturday.
- Robby Parris (WR) – The wide receiving corps are banged up this spring and Robby Parris has made the most of his opportunity so far. He’s drawn some praise from Weis and could end up seeing quite a bit of playing time this weekend. Could Parris channel Charles Stafford on Saturday?
- Jonas Gray (RB) – Gray is an extremely talented running back, but has been inconsistent and has made some mistakes this spring according to Weis. In the Blue/Gold game though, Gray could end up seeing some extended action and has the talent to put up some Clement Stokes type numbers.
- John Goodman (WR) – Like Parris, Goodman has made the most of the injuries to receivers ahead of him on the depth chart this spring and could end making some big plays this weekend. Goodman has had a great spring and even received a rare compliment from cornerback Robert Blanton the other day. With Golden Tate and Michael Floyd locked in as the top two wide receivers, it might be hard for Goodman to make a huge impact this fall, but he could end up challenging Duval Kamara for the 3rd wide receiver position.
- Emeka Nwankwo (DE) – Not much has been said about the junior defensive end so far this spring, but with injuries along the line and the staff looking to see what they have, Nwankwo could have an opportunity to make some plays on Saturday.
Possible Breakout Blue/Gold MVPs for 2009
On the flip side, here are some players who are projected to be starters or major contributors in 2009 who have yet to see much action, but could be ready to break out.
- Kapron Lewis-Moore (DE) – Lewis Moore has been given some high praise from Weis this spring. He was listed as the starting strong side DE from day one this spring and in Ivan Maisel’s report on Notre Dame’s spring practice, Maisel revealed that Weis thinks Lewis-Moore could project to be the best defensive lineman for the Irish.
- Hafis Williams (DT) – Williams is another defensive lineman who has drawn some praise from Weis this spring. His emergence this spring has allowed Randy Hart to work Ethan Johnson on the outside at defensive end as well as on the inside.
- Ethan Johnson (DE/DT) – Johnson could be ready to really breakout as a star player. In the Hawaii Bowl, Johnson recorded two sacks and looked like the best defensive lineman on the field that day. Johnson is immensely talented and could end up having a very big game Saturday.
- Kyle Rudolph (TE) – Rudolph started every game at tight end for Notre Dame in 2008 so he technically might not qualify as a breakout player, but like Johnson, he could be on the verge of becoming a star player. With the youth in the linebacking corps, Rudolph could take advantage of their inexperience and turn it into an MVP performance.
- Steve Filer (LB) – Speaking of the young linebackers, Filer was the most heralded linebacker among the freshmen LBs this year and was listed as a starter on the first depth chart. Not much has been said about Filer this spring, but his athleticism cannot be denied and he could be ready to start making some noise.
- Toryan Smith (LB) – On the flip side of Filer, there is senior Toryan Smith. Smith has drawn some praise this spring and has one last chance to take a starting role.
- Robert Blanton (CB) – Blanton made some big plays for Notre Dame last year, but was not a starter until Terrail Lambert got hurt towards the end of the season. Blanton’s had a great spring though and could use the Blue/Gold game as a spring board towards locking down a starting spot in 2009.
- Jamoris Slaughter (CB) - Like Goodman, Slaughter didn’t play as a true freshman, but he’s been making some noise this spring and is making a serious push for playing time. I would expect the staff to use Slaughter quite a bit Saturday to see what they have with him since they have a pretty good idea what they’ve got with Walls and McNeil.
Who do you think could end up being a surprise MVP this weekend? Let us know in the comments.