Sun Bowl a Glimpse Into the Future for Notre Dame Football

As Notre Dame makes final preparations for its Sun Bowl matchup with Oregon State on Friday, Notre Dame fans are about to get a heavy dose of some younger players who may not have played prominent roles throughout the season. The Irish will be without multiple starters and depth players – as every team that isn’t in the playoffs is these days – opening the door for others to step up who figure to have prominent roles in 2024 and beyond. Here are a few of them.

Steve Angeli (QB)

The most obvious youngster Notre Dame fans will get a glimpse of on Friday is the new QB1 – at least for the day. Sam Hartman opting out opened the door for Angeli to get the start before Duke transfer Riley Leonard arrives on campus. Angeli was solid in mop-up duty this fall but will get his first taste of snaps against a starting defense – or at least what is left of Oregon State’s defense after opt-outs and transfers.

It’ll be interesting to see what Angeli can do with a patchwork line and all the losses at receiver to the portal earlier this month. Notre Dame’s QB room is in an interesting place right now, with CJ Carr on campus and Leonard arriving soon.

Boubacar Traore (DE)

The freshman pass rusher only played 17 snaps in 4 games this fall, but in those limited snaps, he graded out at 91.7 on PFF – the highest season total for any defender. Granted, it was a VERY limited sample size, but it was clear in limited action that he has a ton of raw talent. It was also very clear that he had a lot of learning to do after he celebrated his lone sack of the year against USC while the clock was still running forcing Marcus Freeman to call a time-out. Time would have run out on USC had it not been for Traore’s mental lapse, and it ultimately cost the Irish 3 points after USC nailed the field goal.

Traore saw just six snaps after his snafu against USC the rest of the season – all in the blowout of Pitt. However, with Nana Osafo Mensah transferring, there will be rotational snaps along the defensive line. It would be wise of Al Golden to see what the talented pass rusher can do.

Jaylen Sneed (LB)

Sneed logged 20 or more snaps in each of the first four games of the season, then didn’t top 20 snaps again until the season finale against Stanford. The former 5-star recruit flashed at times but wasn’t consistent throughout the season. In 199 total snaps, Sneed recorded just 14 total tackles with one sack.

With Marist Liufau opting out of the bowl game (despite being projected as a late-round pick at best), Sneed moves into the starting lineup with Jack Kiser sliding over to WILL. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had his breakthrough performance in the 2019 Camping World Bowl with 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Perhaps a similar breakout performance is in the cards for Sneed? JOK had more of an impact during that year’s regular season, but the two are very similar athletes.

Charles Jagusah (LT)

Jagusah played just 5 total snaps this season – all in the finale against Stanford – but is locked in as the starting left tackle for the Sun Bowl. With Joe Alt and Blake Fisher headed to the NFL, Notre Dame will have two new starting tackles in 2024, so this dress rehearsal for Jaguash is a huge opportunity to stake his claim on the LT position heading into the off-season.

It’s rare for a true freshman who played so little in the regular season to be given such a position for the bowl game, but with increasing transfers and opt-outs, this will probably become commonplace in college football.

Jordan Faison (WR)

After starting the season on LAX scholarship, Faison forced his way onto the football field and ended up finishing as the fourth-highest-graded offensive player on the season per PFF behind Audric Estime, Joe Alt, and Angeli. Faison has speed to burn – something currently lacking within the Notre Dame wide receiving corps.

Faison ended the season with touchdowns in back to back contests, including a 45-yarder against Stanford. Notre Dame added two receivers via the portal this month in, Kris Mitchell and Beaux Collins, and is on the hunt for a third so the wide receiver room at Notre Dame is going to look much different in the spring making the bowl game important for Faison and all of the other receivers returning in 2024.

Jaden Greathouse (WR)

Greathouse started his freshman season with a bang, with two touchdowns in the season opener, but was slowed by injuries throughout the year. After recording catches in each of the first five games, Greathouse didn’t have any in the next five. He hauled in four for 86 yards and two touchdowns over the final two games of the year, however.

Where Greathouse fits in the mix next year with the additions will be interesting to watch in the spring, but for the bowl game, it will just be nice to see a fully rested and healthy Greathouse again.

Eli Raridon (TE)

Raridon made his season debut against Louisville after suffering the second ACL injury of his career last year. However, Raridon didn’t record a catch until the Wake Forest game, when he had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. With Mitchell Evans out injured and Holden Staes gone after entering the portal earlier this month, Raridon is in line for a starting gig. He played a career-high 51 snaps against Stanford in the finale.

Evans will be back in 2024, but Raridon could stake his claim for the second tight end spot in the Irish offense.

Jeremiyah Love (RB)

With Audric Estime opting out of the bowl game as he prepares for the NFL Draft, freshman Jeremiyah Love is in line for the start. Love flashed almost every opportunity he was given throughout the season, and he has a very bright future. He isn’t the bruising running back that Estime is, but with his speed and elusiveness, Love has the potential to be every bit as exciting as Estime was for the Irish the last few years.

Love averaged 6.2 yards per carry over the year but might have tougher going in the Sun Bowl given the changes to Notre Dame’s offensive line for the game. Still, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Love is able to break a long run or two against a depleted Beaver defense.

You may also like


  1. Just wish to say your article is as surprising The clearness in your post is just cool and i could assume youre an expert on this subject Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work

  2. It was great seeing how much work you put into it. The picture is nice, and your writing style is stylish, but you seem to be worrying that you should be presenting the next article. I’ll almost certainly be back to read more of your work if you take care of this hike.

  3. First time ever where a win or loss today won’t really bother me that much. Just looking forward to seeing how Angeli plays along side Love and Price. This will probably be Angelis’ only start at ND and I’m hopeful he plays well. Good chance he will be 4th on the depth chart once Sept rolls around.

  4. With transfers and opt outs, along with the coaching carousel that has a number of teams being coached by some coaches who will not even be in those jobs in the fall (assistants and HCs) the ‘other’ bowl games are quickly becoming a meaningless joke. In many ways it’ll be like watching a practice game. Does anyone really think Angeli is going to be the starting QB next year? We have an interim OC coaching a team that will look considerably different from the team that played this year and will play next year.
    Rules and changes to CFB are quickly creating bowl games that have absolutely no meaning anymore. It probably started when they kept adding more and more bowl games to the point that a team with a losing record could possible make it to a bowl game. There used to be a time when players wanted to actually play bowl games. Now they seem to be looked at by many players as optional scrimmage games (except for the playoff games and maybe the NY Day major bowls).
    I’m not saying all changes are bad. I have mixed feelings about expanding the playoffs. On the one hand I always believed who wins a NC should be decided on the field, not by a bunch of people in a room analyzing stats and so forth. On the other hand, CFB has changed. It’s quickly becoming an NFL development league which I don’t like. And quickly losing some of the things that make CFB special. Maybe it’s time to just do away with bowl season and just expand the playoffs to the same level as the other FB divisions. They can absorb the existing bowl games into the format and at least those bowl games would hold meaning again.
    Because, IMO, there’s going to come a time when nobody’s going to tune into a game like the Sun Bowl. Which has no meaning, and won’t even feature a number players/coaches who have either played a major role leading to this game, or will be there in a significant way in the future.
    Just my take. CFB has changed significantly, and you can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle and return to 1975. So all they can do is adapt.

    1. While I don’t totally disagree with you, I will try to add some optimism to your day. I think these ‘lesser’ bowls will be around quite a while. One key about qualifying for a bowl game is that the team gets 15 more practices in Dec. This is key in identifying up and comers and giving the untested a test. The games can still be very exciting, even with all the new faces and changes. Tell me the kids like Angelli or Love aren’t excited to get a start and a chance to shine on national TV. Last year against South Carolina was a very exciting and entertaining game that saw Buchner have what will likely be the best game of his college career. Beyond that some of us just like watching football. Last nights AZ vs OK. matchup was a good game and tell me AZ isn’t thrilled to have a 10 win season as well as a bowl victory against a college blue blood? As an old Irish fan, I remember those two losses to Oregon State and regardless of the teams being fielded I want some revenge. ND has a chance to get back to 10 wins after dipping to 9 last year. If they get the win that will give Free 19 wins in his first two seasons which will be a record. For the kids who aren’t hitting to the portal or opting out for the draft this will be a treat. So I hear you about the diluted nature of bowls, but this is just what we have today. Hopefully next year ND makes the new 12 team CFP and we get a home game in DEC. For sure the month of Dec has been exciting with us signing our entire 23 commits for 2024, getting key guys from the portal, naming a new WR and OC. I feel a win today would put a nice bow on what has been a pretty great Dec after the rocky start with the WR drama and other transfers after the season eneded. Go IRISH!!!

  5. When all hope seemed gone the sun began to shine again and shine brighter. All of will get a taste of what Notre Dame can do in the Sun bowl,we all may be a bit surprised and I mean in a good way.Our coach had a growth spirt with what he was faced with and he came through with flying colors.So let’s root for our team and usher in 2024 with optimism, GO IRISH…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button