ESPN’s Brian Bennett published a list of Notre Dame’s top 5 players for the 2010 season on Thursday and the list is a little interesting.
Here’s how Bennett ranked the top players for the Irish.
- Dayne Crist, QB (Jr)
- Darius Fleming, OLB (Jr)
- Kyle Rudolph, TE (Jr)
- Manti Te’o, ILB (So)
- Michael Floyd, WR (Jr)
ESPN also listed Armando Allen, Chris Stewart, Ethan Johnson, Ian Williams, and Kapron Lewis-Moore as the next five players for the Irish.
Bennett’s list is based primarily on potential as evidenced by Darius Fleming’s #4 ranking. The outside linebacker led the Irish in tackles for loss in 2009, but for the most part he has still been a bit inconsistent over his first two years. Still, based on his potential and the fact that he will be playing the scheme he was originally recruited, it’s hard to argue that Fleming is one of the top players on the Irish squad for the upcoming season.
The one glaring omission in Bennett’s list is junior offensive lineman Trevor Robinson. Robinson, a two-year starter already, is easily Notre Dame’s most talented offensive lineman and has the potential to be one of the better linemen to come out of Notre Dame in a while. I would place Robinson among the top 5 players in the Irish roster.
If I were to rank the top 5 players on the team for this year, I would probably swap Fleming with Ethan Johnson and have Robinson ranked at #5 with Crist just outside the top 5 largely because he is coming off of a serious knee injury and has never started a game on the college level. While it’s been reported that Crist has been progressing wonderfully, even NFL quarterbacks are just not quite themselves in their first season back from an ACL injury.
The top 3 in Bennett’s list are pretty much dead on though. I might consider changing up the order of Rudolph, Te’o, and Floyd a bit, but as of right now, they appear to be the three players in the Irish roster that would start for any team in the country.
If there’s one thing that is clearly obvious about this list though it’s that recruiting rankings do mean something. Look at the players on this list. Michael Floyd? 5 star recuit. Manti Te’o? Another 5-star recruit. Rudolph? Same deal. In fact, all of the players listed in Bennett’s top 10 were 4 or 5-star recruits with the exception of Ian Williams.
So the next time someone suggests that recruiting rankings and star ratings don’t mean much. Think about this list.
What’s also pretty evident from this is list is that Notre Dame does have some serious talent on the roster this fall. There are certainly areas where depth is an issue with the Irish this fall, but there is some top line talent here for Kelly to work with.