Now that Davaris Daniels has been readmitted by Notre Dame and will be suiting up for the Fighting Irish, what can Notre Dame fans expect to see out of the senior wide receiver? Daniels is by far the most experienced receiver on the Irish roster and the odds on favorite to be Everett Golson’s go to guy, but what kind of production will that translate into?
Looking at Davaris Daniels production to date
After redshirting as a freshman in 2011, Davaris Daniels began to make his mark in 2012 as Notre Dame’s #2 wide receiver behind TJ Jones and #3 option behind Jones and Tyler Eifert – Notre Dame’s go to target in 2012. He then took his game up a level in 2013 surpassing both his receptions and yardage output while improving his touchdown production greatly.
- 2012: 31 rec; 490 yards; 0 TDs
- 2013: 49 rec; 745 yards; 7 TDs
Despite the increase in production though, Daniels had a chance for even more impressive numbers as a junior. We learned in the off-season that Daniels had a nagging injury that kept him from being 100% and as a result, his production was inconsistent to say the least. Daniels had a few monster games throughout the 2013 campaign, but had more than his fair share of games where his presence was hardly felt including three straight games – Air Force, Navy, and Pitt – where he had less than 40 yards in each game.
Inconsistency didn’t just come at the end of the season for Daniels though. Early in the season Daniels went back to back games – Oklahoma and Michigan State – with a combined 4 catches for 19 yards.
Examining recent #1 WR production
In the last 9 years of Notre Dame football, the #1 wide receiver for the Fighting Irish has topped the 1,000 yard mark 7 times. In 2005, the Irish even added a 2nd 1,000 yard receiver in the #2 wide receiver position. The only times the #1 WR at Notre Dame didn’t topple the 1,000 mark were the offensive oasis of the 2007 season and 2012 when Tyler Eifert’s 50 receptions tied for the team lead and cut into the wide receiver production a bit
- 2005 – Jeff Samardzija – 77 rec; 1,249 yards; 15 TDs
- 2005 – Maurice Stovall – 69 rec 1,149 yards; 11 TDs
- 2006 – Jeff Samardzija – 78 rec; 1,,078 yards; 12 TDs
- 2008: Golden Tate – 58 rec; 1,080 yards; 10 TDs
- 2009: Golden Tate – 93 rec; 1,496 yards; 15 TDs
- 2010: Michael Floyd – 79 rec; 1025 yards; 12 TDs
- 2011: Michael Floyd – 100 rec; 1,147 yards; 9 TDs
- 2012: TJ Jones- 50 rec; 649 yards; 4 TDs
- 2013: TJ Jones – 70 rec; 1108 yards; 9 TDs
Since Brian Kelly has taken the reigns of the Notre Dame program, Irish receivers have topped 1,000 yards three out of four seasons with Michael Floyd going back to back seasons with 1,000+ in 2010 and 2011 and TJ Jones eclipsing the mark last season with his breakout performance. It should be noted that this has occurred without Notre Dame ever having a “high powered” offense or real stability at the quarterback position under Kelly – something that the Irish could feature in 2014.
So what should we expect of Daniels?
Assuming Daniels is the #1 wide receiver for the Irish now that he is back, a 1,000 yard season should be considered the baseline of success. There has been just one season under Kelly without a 1,000 yard receiver and given the firepower the offense will have this fall combined with the return of Everett Golson, there shouldn’t be any reason that Daniels doesn’t surpass 1,000 yards.
Daniels did miss all the spring meaning he hasn’t caught a pass from Everett Golson since the spring of 2013, but given both of their familiarity in the offense, it shouldn’t take too long for the two to regain the chemistry they began to develop in 2012.
A season ago Daniels wasn’t that far off the pace of 1,000 yards needing an additional 255 yards to hit 1,000. That averages out to just over 21 more yards a game. When you factor in how many times Daniels blew past defenses and was open field only to be underthrown or not seen, those extra 21 yards a game should not be hard to come by. In fact, Daniels deep play skills combined with Golson’s big arm, could make it quite easy for Daniels to find them.
Notre Dame has a lot of depth at wide receiver in 2014 but Daniels is by far the most experienced and should have a monster season. It would not surprise me at all if Daniels surpassed TJ Jones’s 2013 production and ended the season with 1,200+ yards and 10+ TDs – even though Daniels will play in an offense with a much stronger run game than the one Jones excelled in a season ago. Those numbers would be similar to what Mardy Gilyard put up over his final two seasons at Cincinnati playing in a high octane Brian Kelly offense. They would also surpass the numbers Michael Floyd racked up over his final two seasons, but Floyd’s output came off the arm of Tommy Rees. Daniels’ 2014 stats will be courtesy of Everett Golson.
Let us know what you expect to see from Daniels this fall in the comments.