Notre Dame released its official roster for 2022 on Monday, and, along with the mid-year enrollees getting their jersey numbers, we learned of four jersey number changes for some Notre Dame veterans. Wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, running back Audric Estime, and linebacker Prince Kollie have swapped out of the numbers they wore as frosh in 2021, and junior Xavier Watts has taken on a new number as well.
Lorenzo Styles & Xavier Watts Both Switch to #4
Styles wore 21 as a freshman in 2021, but he’s taken the #4 jersey worn most recently by Kevin Austin just last year. Some notable running backs have worn number 4 for the Irish such as Lee Becton in the early 90s and Ryan Grant in the early 2000s. Sixth-year senior Avery Davis also wore #4 for the Irish at one point in his career before switching to #3.
Watts wore #26 last season as a safety after starting out the year as a wide receiver. He was initially #82 but also wore #4 on his recruiting visit to Notre Dame three years ago.
It is very notable that Styles and Watts will both wear #4 because it means the two can’t be on the field together at the same time. Usually, that is an issue on special teams – see the missed call against Pitt in 2012 – but in this case, it’s notable given Notre Dame’s lack of depth at receiver. If Watts were to have to play wide receiver at all this year, he’d need a new number. The fact that the staff let both switch to #4 suggests they have no intention of Watts being needed as a receiver.
Audric Estime Switches from #24 to #7
Estime has changed to a relatively nontraditional running back number, at least for Notre Dame. Quarterbacks tend to wear the #7 jersey much more regularly – see Joe Theismann, Brandon Wimbush, and Carlyle Holiday. Estime wore #2 in high school, which is open right now for an offensive player – DJ Brown is #2 on defense – but instead, he takes on the same #7 that DE Isaiah Foskey wears on defense.
While the #7 jersey isn’t typical for running backs at Notre Dame, the first thing that came to my mind was another physically imposing #7 for the Irish in recent years – Stephon Tuitt, who recently retired from the NFL. While Tuitt played DE for the Irish, he was a massive individual, just as Estime is at running back.
Prince Kollie Switches from #32 to #10
I don’t know why, but Kollie in a #32 jersey just looked kind of odd for a linebacker, just like it looks a bit odd for Nana Osafo Mensah wearing #31 as a defensive end. Kollie takes on the #10 jersey that ROVER Isaiah Pryor wore last year. Quarterback Drew Pyne wears #10 on offense for the Irish.
Brady Quinn, Matt Lovecchio, Adrian Jarrell, and Davaris Daniels are some notable #10s for Notre Dame.
Freshmen Early Enrollees get their numbers
The early enrollees have had their numbers for some time now, but we now officially know the numbers for all the mid-years as well. Here they are in numerical order.
- TE Eli Raridon #9 – Raridon is expected to be a special player, even after an ACL injury in the off-season, and he’ll start his career wearing Kyle Rudolph’s #9. Tony Rice, Tom Zbikowski, Jaylon Smith, Jeff Burris, and Louis Nix are good company at #9. DE Justin Ademilola also wears #9 for Notre Dame.
- RB Gi’Bran Payne #13 – A very late addition to the class after signing with Indiana before de-committing and selecting the Irish. The #13 is not very notable for an RB.
- P Bryce McPherson #14 – Johnny Lattner, Emil Sitko, Deshone Kizer, and Gary Godsey – who beat Drew Brees while quarterback the Irish – all wore #14 for the Irish.
- WR Tobias Merriweather #15 – Merriweather takes on the #15 jersey that many opposing defensive backs saw the back of on Will Fuller recently. Kevin McDougal, Allen Rossum, and Pat Terrell are some famous non-WR #15s for Notre Dame.
- CB Benjamin Morrison #20 – A good number for a defensive back considering Luther Bradley wore it for the Irish. So too did Gerome Sapp and Shaun Crawford. Freshman early enrollee RB Jadarian Price also wears #20 for the Irish
- DT Donovan Hinish #41 – Hinish slides into the #41 that his brother Kurt wore for the Irish for the last five years.
- OL Ashton Craig #58 – Linebackers Brian Smith and DT Elijah Taylor have worn the #58 jersey for the Irish, but otherwise, I had trouble finding other #58s.
- OL Amil Wagner #59 – Chris Stewart wore #59 for the Irish during the Charlie Weis era along the OL. Jarrett Grace w e the number as a linebacker at the beginning of the Kelly era.
- OL Ty Chan #77 – Quinn Carroll most recently wore #77 for Notre Dame before transferring.
- TE Holden Staes #85 – George Takacs wore #85 for the Irish last season.
- Chris Smith #65 – The Harvard DL will wear #65, which is significant because LS Michael Vinson also wears #65, which would prevent him from being on any punting or place kicking units.