Notre Dame’s recruiting class of 2017 are all officially on campus as of last week. You may have seen some posts with all of their jersey numbers this week. You haven’t seen a post with the history behind every single one. Until now.
We mined through years of Notre Dame football history so that you know just what each frosh has to live up to. Or, in some cases, the history they need to reverse with their respective numbers. In some cases, they have a lot to live up to. We’re looking at you Jafar Armstrong.
#13 Avery Davis (QB)
Avery Davis’s jersey will be very familiar to his (eventual) QB coach. Tommy Rees. Sorry, Tom Rees wore #13 for Notre Dame during the 2010 and 2011 seasons before finishing his career as #11. Evan Sharpley and David Wolke were also recent quarterbacks to wear #13 at Notre Dame. Hopefully Davis has some better luck at the quarterback position for the Irish. Tyler Luatua would have been #13 this fall, but his career has been cut short due to a medical hardship.
#13 Jordan Genmark Heath (S)
Jordan Genmark Heath has some better company with the same jersey number as Davis. Tom Carter wore #13 in the defensive backfield for Notre Dame in the early 90’s on his way to being a first round pick. Bert Berry wore #13 at OLB for Bob Davie’s best Notre Dame defenses on his way to having one of the most underrated NFL careers of any Notre Dame player in the last 30 years. Pat Eilars of Catholics vs. Convicts fame and recent fan favorite Danny Spond wore #13. Jaylon Smith also once wore #13 for one game in honor of Spond.
#15 CJ Holmes (RB)
Holmes is blazing some ground here as a running back with #15. No running back has worn #15 for Notre Dame as far as we could tell since 1971 and there aren’t any famous Notre Dame running backs ever to done #15. Most recently the number has had bad luck in the secondary with Dan McCarthy (injuries), Leo Ferrine (eventual transfer), Preston Jackson, and Clifford Jefferson all wearing the number. Before that, however, 1988 National Champion Pat Terrell and 1993 deserved, but robbed National Champion Kevin McDougal (QB) wore #15.
Corey Holmes wore #15 for Notre Dame the last three years. Like the defensive backs before him who did not live up to the hype, Holmes’s career just didn’t pan. He will finish his career at Purdue after transferring last winter. It hasn’t all been bad for Notre Dame at #15 recently though. Will Fuller wore #15 as a freshman in 2013 before changing to #7 in 2014 and having a standout career.
#17 Isaiah Robertson (S)
Not a whole lot of jersey history at defensive back here for the early enrollee. Most recent players to wear #17 have been special teamers. Geoff Price, Joey Hildbold, and Hunter Smith all wore #17 and punted for Notre Dame. Recently though, Zeke Motta wore #17 as a safety on that nasty 2012 Notre Dame defense. Brian Magee was a safety on some good Notre Dame defenses in the early 1990’s at #17 too. James Onwualu wore #17 for Notre Dame the last four years and had a more than solid career for the Irish.
#25 Jafar Armstrong (WR)
Jafar Armstrong wins the “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Jersey History” Award this year. Armstrong was a late addition to the class of 2017 but took a number that will standout. Raghib “The Rocket” Ismail wore #25 and without him none of you would be reading this post because he is the reason I became a Notre Dame fan as a kid. Armstrong is the first wide receiver to take on #25 since the Rocket. Tony Driver, Randy Kinder, Munir “Whoosh” Prince, and Jonas Gray all wore number 25 at either running back or defensive back. Tarean Folston wore #25 the last four years before deciding to head to the NFL instead of return for a 5th year in 2016.
#30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ROVER)
The #30 has been wore by players from a number of positions – linebacker, safety, running back and fullback. It makes sense that Owusu-Koramoah would wear #30 as Notre Dame’s hybrid safety/linebacker (ROVER). Mike Richardson (CB), Rocky Boiman (LB), and Jarvis Edison (S) are the most recent notable players to wear #30. 1988 National Champion Frank Stams wore #30 after playing multiple positions during his career. Josh Barajas was #30 for Notre Dame up until his transfer this offseason.
#35 David Adams (LB)
According to our research, David Adams will be the first linebacker to ever wear #35 at Notre Dame. Donte Vaughn wore #35 for Notre Dame last fall but will switch to #8. Before Vaughn, Ben Turk wore it most recently for Notre Dame as a punter. There haven’t been a lot of impact players to wear #35 for Notre Dame but back in 1928 a guy by the name of Frank Leahy wore #35 for Notre Dame. Can’t recall what his playing career turned into, but I hear he turned out to be a pretty good coach.
#39 Jonathan Doerer (K)
The last player to wear #39 for Notre Dame also kicked for the Fighting Irish – Ryan Burkhart. A couple of recent great linebackers wore the number as well – Brandon Hoyte and the underrated Anthony Denman. 1988 National Champion fullback Braxston Banks also wore #39 for Notre Dame.
#40 Drew White (LB)
Another jersey most recently wore by a kicker. Nick Tausch wore #40 in 2009 and 2010. Before him, linebacker Maurice Crum wore #40. Crum has the distinction of being the best player on a historically bad Notre Dame defense in 2007. Crum was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame until joining Mike Sanford’s staff at Western Kentucky this offseason. Reggie Brooks and Tony Eurick wore #40 at running back for the Irish as well.
#41 Kurt Hinish (DT)
Interesting jersey number for Hinish in terms of Notre Dame history. We couldn’t find any defensive linemen to have worn #41 since the the 1940’s for the Irish. Matthias Farley spent a lot of his four year career in the starting lineup for Notre Dame at safety and nickel back. Mike Goolsby is another recent notable Notre Dame player to wear the number.
#47 Kofi Wardlow (DE)
The #47 has a bit of an infamous history recently. Mitchell Thomas was a highly sought after linebacker recruit who never panned out for Notre Dame under Charlie Weis and Mike McNair was a 5-star uber recruit who never made any impact under Bob Davie. Then there was LB Pete Berrich who dropped what would have been the game clinching interception against Boston College in 1993. Hopefully Wardlow avoids that bad juju and instead has a career more like ’88 champion Ned Bolcar who also wore 47. Nick Eddy ran out of the Notre Dame backfield in the 60’s with #47 too.
#69 Aaron Banks (OL)
This number has not been worn all that often at Notre Dame, but Mike Gandy wore #69 and had a great Notre Dame career as an offensive guard in the late 90’s. Gandy was a 3rd round pick in 2001 and had a 10 year NFL career. I think we could all live with that from Banks. Going way back, Ed “Moose” Krause wore #69 for Notre Dame in the 1930’s. I think we’d all be pretty happy if Banks had a career like Krause too. Tony Springmann was the most recent #69. At one time Springmann was a promising defensive lineman before injuries cut his career short.
#72 Robert Hainsey (OL)
You would think a number like 72 is a pretty common number for an offensive linemen, but there really haven’t been a lot of lineman to done #72 for the Irish. Nick Martin wore #72 most recently and is one of the most impactful #72’s of all time for Notre Dame. Alex Bullard wore it before transferring to Tennessee. Paul Duncan had a pretty nice career as a tackle for Notre Dame from 2005-2009. Ryan Leahy wore #72 in the early 1990’s and Gerry DiNardo wore in the 70’s long before he became a head coach at LSU in the 1990’s.
#75 Josh Lugg (OL)
Josh Lugg didn’t shy away from a number with some pretty good players behind it too. Taylor Dever had a nice career at #75 for Notre Dame but before him, Aaron Taylor, Tim Grunhard, and Bob Kuechenberg all wore #75 for Notre Dame. Mark Harrell, Mr. Do Everything in 2015, also wore #75 after reserving as a super sub for the Irish throughout his career.
#76 Dillan Gibbons (OL)
#76 might not have quite the history of #75 but all of the recent recipients of #76 have had solid careers. Andrew Nuss, Bob Morton, John Teasdale, and Jeremy Akers were the last four players to wear 76 for Notre Dame. If Gibbons has a career similar to any of them, Notre Dame would most likely be pretty happy.
#84 Cole Kmet (TE)
A trio of pretty good tight ends have worn #84 for Notre Dame over the last 30 years – Will Yeatman, John Owens, and Irv Smith all wore #84. Yeatman did not finish his career at Notre Dame unfortunately and John Owens was tragically underutilized though. Kmet has the talent to have a career like Smith who ended up being a first round pick. No pressure, Cole. No pressure.
#87 Michael Young (WR)
Michael Young will be just the 14th player to wear #87 for Notre Dame. South Bend area native Daniel Smith most recently wore it. Before Smith though, tight ends dominated the number. Joseph Fauria, Marcus Freeman, and Jabari Holloway all wore #87 since 1997. Lake Dawson is the most notable wide receiver to wear #87 for Notre Dame. No one with Young’s speed has wore #87 before so it’s safe to assume Young will be the fastest #87 in Notre Dame history.
#89 Brock Wright (TE)
There is a little more history on defense at #89 for Notre Dame. Kapron Lewis-Moore wore #89 on the 2012 defense and Ross Browner, one of Notre Dame’s all-time greats, wore #89 in the 1970’s. John Carlson was the last tight end to wear #89 before becoming an eventual 2nd round pick in 2008 and have a pretty good NFL career before injuries cut it short. Jacob Matuska wore #89 most recently in 2016. That is some pretty good company for Wright who many feel could end up being the most impact player from the class of 2017.
#92 Jonathan MacCollister (DE)
MacCollister has plenty of room for improvement over the last three defensive linemen to wear #92 for Notre Dame. Tyler Stockton and Derrell Hand didn’t have much impact on the field during their careers though Stockton was a team leader off it at the end of his career. Grant Blankenship came to Notre Dame as a highly rated recruit but transferred eventually. Kyle Budinscak was an underrated defensive end for Notre Dame from 2001-2004 though and he could be a good player for MacCollister to pattern himself after as a fellow lower rated recruit out of high school.
#94 Darnell Ewell DT
If Darnell Ewell lives up to the hype, he could be the greatest player to wear #94 for Notre Dame. Willie Fry was a 2nd round pick after playing four years as a defensive end for Notre Dame in the 70’s, but outside of Fry there haven’t been a lot of impact players to wear #94. Jaron Jones wore #94 for Notre Dame the last five years and while he had his moments, his career will be remembered more for what it could have been. Injuries and inconsistencies are what people will remember. Hafis Williams and Justin Brown are two other recent defensive linemen to wear it.
#95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (DT)
Few have worn #95 for Notre Dame in the past, but the ones who have recently have had pretty good careers. Ian Williams, Victor Abiamiri, Ryan Roberts, and Junior Bryant have all worn the number and had very good careers for the Fighting Irish as defensive linemen. Lord Myron will continue that tradition as a UHND favorite already.