Notre Dame Football Spring ’24 Position Breakdown: Wide Receiver

If there’s any position that will get a closer look during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s spring sessions, it figures to be the wide receiving unit. That’s due in part to the fact that there’s a new position coach in place with Mike Brown. Yet, the key factor is that this overhauled group has a vastly different look after multiple players left and arrived through the transfer portal.


Four wideouts left the Irish program, including two of the top receivers, Chris Tyree and Rico Flores. Tyree’s decision was somewhat surprising, given that he had finally begun to thrive last season after struggling to fit in at running back. Flores offered modest but steady production, finishing with 27 catches and helped ease the injury-plagued unit.

Before last season, Tobias Merriwether was considered a potential breakout player. However, he ended up with just 14 catches on the year and announced his transfer plans one day after former Irish receivers coach Chansi Stuckey was dismissed. Joining this group was rarely-used receiver Braylon James, who had only a single 12-yard catch in the rout of Pitt last season.


To counter the exodus of wideouts, Notre Dame focused on experience when they replenished the unit through the same transfer portal. The key addition among this group is former Florida International receiver Kris Mitchell, who went from catching just 36 passes total during his first three years at FIU to a 64-catch, 1,118-yard season in 2023 that included six touchdown receptions.

Mitchell is joined by former Clemson wideout Beaux Collins, who had 91 catches during three seasons with the Tigers, including 38 last season. He presents a big target at six-foot-three, though he’s likely to offer Notre Dame some depth behind either Mitchell or Jayden Thomas at the boundary position. Collins, however, will not be with Notre Dame this spring as he completes the semester at Clemson.

Jayden Harrison started his collegiate career at Vanderbilt, spent the next three seasons at Marshall and now finds himself at Notre Dame. He’s caught a total of 72 passes during those previous four years and is coming off his most productive year. He’s not a big target but is expected to be used as a possession receiver in certain situations.

The three transfers are short-term considerations, in contrast to a pair of early enrollees in Cam Williams and Micah Gilbert. Williams is on an upward trajectory in his football career and brings the type of big-play speed that may see him end up battling for a bigger role as the season progresses. Gilbert is a versatile athlete who played on both sides of the ball in high school and still had over 1,000 yards on the receiving front. He could be especially dangerous after he hauls in a pass.

A Look Back and Ahead

The Irish passing game had its moments last season but was handicapped for a portion of the campaign because of key injuries. Jayden Thomas played in 11 games but a nagging hamstring issue limited him to just 21 receptions and two touchdowns, slightly under his 2022 effort. He gave a hint of what he can do when healthy with four grabs for 59 yards and one touchdown in the Sun Bowl win.

Jaden Greathouse also had a brief hamstring issue, ending the season with 18 catches for 265 yards. He did manage to reach the end zone on five of those grabs but is capable of much more if afforded the opportunity. For example, he had 11 receptions in last year’s Blue-Gold game but whether another big spring raises his profile even high is unknown. Having a new offensive coordinator may help exploit that burgeoning potential.

Keeping Deion Colzie and K.K. Smith healthy can only help the Irish, with Colzie’s extended recovery from a knee scope short-circuiting a season that began with all three of his 2023 receptions in the opener against Navy. He’s only managed to grab 16 tosses in his three seasons with the Irish, so any uptick in his production should be beneficial for all involved.

Smith is more of an unknown, simply because his freshman campaign was limited to being available for the bowl game victory. A shoulder injury was the cause of that absence, so his spring effort should be interesting to watch. He may have problems trying to break through the talent on the field but anything he can deliver during the season is a bonus.

One name conspicuously absent from this group is Jordan Faison, who capped an impressive first year with an MVP performance in the bowl game rout. He’s expected to develop even further in the fall but for now, he’s currently focused on the sport he was originally recruited for: lacrosse. In a few years, he’s expected to be joined by his brother Dylan, who recently committed to Notre Dame.

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