Spring Football ’13: 7 Intriguing Players for Notre Dame

Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety C.J. Prosise (34) greets young fans as he walks into practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. (Photo: Matt Cashore / USA TODAY Sports)

Every spring story-lines emerge and new players step into roles they previously hadn’t held for colleges all around the country.  Such is the nature of the beast in college football with teams replacing a quarter of their roster every year.  Those spring story-lines usually develop into the reasons behind either surprising or disappointing seasons in the fall.

Notre Dame will be replacing a lot of talented starters this year – Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert, Braxston Cave, and Theo Riddick just to name a few.  How quickly they find replacements and build depth throughout the roster will determine if the Irish are BCS bound again in 2013 or if their New Year’s will be open.

Today we are going to take a look at seven different intriguing players the Irish coaching staff will be looking to replace some of those starters and build enough depth to continue to close the gap between the Notre Dame program and the Alabamas of the college football landscape.

CJ Prosise

Before spring camp started, Prosise looked like he was locked in the log jam at safety where the Irish have a lot of bodies and have 5-star recruit Max Redfield reporting in the summer.  Brian Kelly let us all know that Prosise would cross train at wide receiver when he kicked off spring football and then told us all that he would be working primarily on offense after Davonte Neal’s transfer and Amir Carlisle’s injury.

With Prosise working primarily at wide receiver where the Irish have limited options for the slot receiver position right now, he went from likely special teams contributor to a potential breakout candidate for 2013.  Last season Matthias Farley made the reverse switch from wide receiver to safety and ended up being forced into the starting lineup after Jamoris Slaughter was lost for the season.

That move turned out to work out pretty well for Notre Dame.

Can the move of Prosise to wide receiver yield similar results on the offensive side of the ball?  It’ll be a little while before we know the answer to that question.  Prosise lining up in the slot does pose some interesting possibilities for the Notre Dame offense, but the rising sophomore has a lot to learn in a relatively short period of time.  He played a little bit of receiver in high school, but even on the prep level he was primarily a defender.

Prosise did show in high school that he can make plays with the football in his hands even though mos of his time was spent on defense.  As a senior he scored seven touchdowns on returns – 5 on kickoffs, 1 on an interception, and another on a fumble return.  In order for Prosise to make an impact this fall as a receiver he’ll need those skills to make plays in the open field.  There is no guarantee that Prosise’s switch to offense will be fruitful as Farley’s move to defense was last year, but none the less, Prosise has now become easily one of the most intriguing players on the Irish roster this spring.

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  1. bj 5 years ago

    i am grateful of course, but i just didnt understand, why the wheels suddenly came off the truck, all that seasonal effort squandered by a flat, flat bcs effort nfl flirt, defections, on signing day and later, gunner, it just seems a waste of all of manti’s extraordionary leadership which should have carried thru to take us to the top in the near future if not in 2012 season. semper fi

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    1. Rob 5 years ago

      A lot of why ND came out looking flat was explained. They couldn’t have many 11v11 drills or much contact at all because they were dangerously thin on the OL and couldn’t risk any guys getting hurt. And Alabama is the best team, without question, in the country. They lost to A&M but even the best have an off day. And I think the players were playing too tight. They wanted it too much and it made them not loose enough. And those 1st couple of bad calls in the 1st 2 drives really hurt us. I doubt we would have won the game but both calls killed whatever momentum we had. You give Saban over a month to prepare for someone and he’s going to hurt you. Look at what they did to LSU last year after losing to them during the season. He had a long time to prepare and not many teams will beat Saban in that situation.

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  2. duranko 5 years ago

    From my perspective, I am both enthused and fascinated by how, how often, and with what respect Kelly talks about his players. He seems to take a genuine delight in their development, and speaks of them with a respect and empowerment I have seldom seen.

    You may want to go back and both see and read the opening press conference
    for the Spring. If that’s “too much talk about me and not enough about the team” then we will agree to disagree viole– er disagreeably.

    I have supreme confidence in Kelly. I guess you, by, may feel that you are entitled to take a 12-0 regular season for granted. I, for one, do not.

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  3. bj 5 years ago

    i still dont see it, kelly has to go down to the grotto and figure out what he wants to be, a national championship coach, another charlie weiss or a money grubbing nfl coach, too many people leaving, too much talk about me and not enough about the team. outcoached and out motivated in the bcs game. imagine notre dame being out motivated. its against our religion. too much urban meyer and not enough lou holtz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdtQrSnEPCM

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    1. Shazamrock 5 years ago

      It must be exhausting being you.

      History lesson #101

      In the last 125 years of organized, ND College football, only 2 Notre Dame head coaches have ever won 12 games in a single season….

      Lou Holtz and Brian Kelly.

      Lou had to win all 12 games(11 regular season and 1 bowl game) to claim the National Title in 1988.

      Brian Kelly had to win 12 games, plus the additional BCS game in order to claim the National Title.

      He came up one game short of being the only ND head football to ever win 13.

      Other than that, the only other major difference be those two 12 win seasons was the 25 year span in between them!

      So if you are really so concerned about modivation and ND football, perhaps you should first motivate your self in getting the facts right.

      By the way, compaired to other major Division 1 football programs, not only does ND have one of the highest Graduation rates in the Nation, We also have one of the lower transfer rates.

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    2. Ron Burgundy 5 years ago

      I always wait on pins and needles for analysis bj.

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  4. duranko 5 years ago

    First, I love Jarron Jones and his potential. But Sheldon Day, even last
    year, was a remarkably skilled player for a frosh. The only thing at which he is a certifiable lunkhead is jumping up and down after dropping an interception, which caused his injury, and midseason slump. Kelly recently identified Day as the guy who does the best job of shedding blocks, prompting kelly to opine that block-shedders are born not made.

    I love our DL depth, but not at the expense of my love for our LB depth.
    First, Grace is going to be an outstanding, not just good, Mike.

    And here are our second string linebackers: Ben Councell, Carlo Calabrese, Kendall Moore and Ishaq Williams. There are not three better LB arrays in the Big Ten. Add Rabasa and Romeo Okwara and it gets amazing.
    The nice part of this depth chart is that when the Golden Child arrives
    from Fort Wayne in June, he will not have to start. Diaco will get to
    spot Jaylon Smith in key downs and situations. He will be dangerous as a
    situational player.

    There are 12 offensive coordinators who are sweating bullets already ab out coping with the Irish defense. Yes, I expect it to be more formidable this year, though not as good statistically, because we will have more
    routs, more subs playing because of the offensive explosion that is coming.

    Go Irish

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  5. spiceyirish 5 years ago

    I think this is the season where Ishaq Williams becomes a big star for the defense.

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    1. JeffTL 5 years ago

      i was thinking the same thing. Ishaq and Shembo are going to apply nasty edge pressure this year. This D will be more explosive because of it.

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  6. ARMAC 5 years ago

    The greatest suspense concerning Stanley and Hegarty is whether they get their big shot this year or next year.

    When it comes to the D-line, it barely makes sense any more to refer to starters and second-stringers. As you note, elite defenses need 6-8 starter-quality players on the line.

    Jarron Jones might start ahead of Sheldon Day due to an extra 3 inches and 25 pounds. And when the opponent is exhausted, put in the quick, explosive Day. In fact, put in Day and Vanderdoes. That would be… intriguing.

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  7. ARMAC 5 years ago

    Isn’t it fun (and a relief) when all our ‘intriguing’ players are highly rated recruits with big star potential?

    CJ Prosise may be the most intriguing because we don’t know what to expect from him. But the coaching staff has been brilliant at fitting great athletes to their roles (Kei Russell, Matt Farley) and they have been excited about CJ since before he arrived.

    In a sense, Jarrett Grace may be the least intriguing. After watching him take on our best offensive linemen in one-on-one drills, it will be a shock if he is not an outstanding player.

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