Today we are kicking off our rundown of the Top 25 players for Notre Dame football in 2018. Like last year you may have seen a similar rundown from some other websites the last two weeks, but apparently our invite was lost in the mail again this year. So we’re rolling solo again this year.
Just like last year, we have three panelists/voters for our poll. Myself, Greg, and Matt Fairchild of Sportscrack.com. We each ranked the top 25 players on Notre Dame’s roster from 1-25. Players ranked 1st received 25 points. Players ranked 25th, received 1 point. Then we summed it all up and had our rankings.
Before jumping into the players who ranked 21st-25th, here are some players who just missed the cut. Each of these players landed on just one ballot.
- Nick Coleman – He’s been the surprise of camp, but still only landed on one ballot. Greg had this to say, “Coleman has been surging in fall camp and looks to improve in his final season. I’ve got a good feeling about what could be in store with Coleman. ” Last year only I ranked Tevon Coney in the rankings and he turned into a star. Perhaps Coleman is this year’s Tevon Coney.
- Ian Book – I was the only one to rank Book and I did so because I do think we will see him play meaningful snaps for Notre Dame this fall. In fact, I expect to see him lead Notre Dame to a win or two.
- Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa – Forgive me Lord Myron for I have sinned. Only Greg ranked Tagovailoa-Amosa a day after I wrote that I think he will be an All-American one day for Notre Dame. “I’ve got a feeling about Lord Myron in 2018, I think he’s ready to have a bit of a breakout inside,” Greg commented.
- Chris Finke – Apparently Matt and I think alike because Finke was only on Greg’s ballot as well.
25. Tyler Newsome, P
2 ballots, Highest Ranking: 21st, Lowest Ranking: Not Ranked
Notre Dame’s 5th year senior punter and one of its captains lands just inside the top 25 after being ranked on two ballots. I was a bit hesitant to rank a punter so high, but Newsome is a captain and has been getting better every year. As a senior entering his third year as a starter, I think we’ll see some nice improvement from Newsome this fall.
Here is what Matt had to say about having Newsome ranked 22nd.
Yes the punter in on the list. The senior captain has gotten more steady every season with his booming leg and is a tremendous locker room presence.
24. Liam Eichenberg, OT
2 ballots, Highest Ranking: 19th, Lowest Ranking: Not Ranked
Matt and Greg are a bit higher on the first year starting tackle than I am as I was the only one of us not to rank Eichenberg in my rankings. My thought process was that Eichenberg is bound to struggle a bit at times as a first year starter and could end up sharing some snaps with Josh Lugg. In time, I think Eichenberg is going to be a monster for Notre Dame, but I think that time will be in 2019. In 2018 we’ll see a solid player, but one that takes a few lumps early on.
Here’s what Greg had to say on his ranking of Eichenberg as the #19 player on the roster.
People forget Eichenberg was a very highly thought of recruit out of Ohio that Urban Meyer wanted bad. Most are leery of him because he lost to Kraemer (and Hainsey) at right tackle last season, but he locked up left tackle very early in the spring. Word is the move from Hiestand to Quinn actually did him some good. I expect a solid season from him.
23. Jafar Armstrong, RB
2 Ballots, Highest Ranking: 17th, Lowest Ranking: Not Ranked
I thought I was ranking Jafar Armstrong a bit too high including him in the top 25 players on the roster after his redshirt season. Then I saw Matt’s rankings and he had him 17th so it’s clear we both feel pretty good about Armstrong in 2018. A couple weeks ago I wrote that Armstrong could be the next CJ Prosise for Notre Dame and with Dexter Williams likely unavailable for the first few weeks, Armstrong will have big role in the offense.
Here’s Matt’s comments on Armstrong.
Who you ask? The converted WR is following in the foot steps of CJ Prosise and has drawn comparisons to Theo Riddick by Brian Kelly. I’m expecting him to be starting by mid September and a 1000 yard season is not far fetched.
22. Tony Jones Jr, RB
2 Ballots, Highest Ranking: 19th, Lowest Ranking: Not Ranked
The first really surprising development in these rankings to me was Tony Jones Jr only showing up on two ballots. Greg left the junior starting running back out of his top 25 all together while I had him ranked the highest at 19th overall. Production wise I think Jones will have a solid season thus the top 20 ranking, but I am still waiting to see the player that we’ve all heard about the past two spring and fall camps. With Williams likely limited the first few weeks, Jones will be used heavily early in the season.
Matt ranked Jones as well and shares some of my skepticism.
I’m not as high on Jones as some are but he’s expected to be the starting tailback vs Michigan. The key will be keeping him healthy especially with Dexter Williams allegedly facing a 4-game suspension to start the season.
21. Alize Mack, TE
3 Ballots, Highest Ranking: 19th, Lowest Ranking: 23rd
We’ve now reached the first player that was on all three ballots (all subsequent players were on all three ballots as well). There might not be another player on the Notre Dame roster who is as tough to project than Mack. Ok well, other than Brandon Wimbush. Mack is supremely talented and athletic. Problem is he hasn’t been able to turn all that potential into much potential over the last three years and has made more news off the field with suspensions than he has on it.
If he puts it all together, Mack has game changing potential at tight end. At the same time, if he got passed by Cole Kmet and lost his spot as the top tight end, it would not surprise anyone. In fact, Greg thinks that has happened already.
Big drop from last season for Mack, perhaps he can prove me wrong, but I think he is well behind Kmet this season.
Matt meanwhile sees the same untapped potential.
Mack has been quite the enigma since he’s arrived at ND. The rising senior has faced suspensions, questionable hands and was even eyeing early entry to the NFL despite a lackluster junior season. Much like Wimbush if he puts it all together he’s unstoppable.
We’ll run through players 16-20 on Tuesday. In the meantime, take a look back at the Top 25 Players from 2017 if you have some time and feel free to laugh at us in some cases.