The Notre Dame blogger player rankings for 25 conclude today with the top 5.
Now without further ado, here is my 5. Everyone’s top 5 can be found over on Inside the Irish.
5. Ethan Johnson – Johnson looked over-matched last year as a DT. An off-season with Paul Longo and the 3-4 defense should do him wonders.
4. Trevor Robinson – Stewart might be the leader of the OL, but Robinson could be the best OL to come out of Notre Dame since Jeff Faine.
3. Michael Floyd – Floyd is a rare talent, but injury issues his first two years bump him down the list a little.
2. Manti Te’o – Te’o will be playing the role of Ray Lewis in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense. It’s been a while since ND’s had a LB of Te’o skill.
1. Kyle Rudolph – Floyd and Te’o might get more publicity, but Rudolph might be the best player at his position in the country.
Coming in at number 5 is former 5-star recruit Ethan Johnson. Johnson came to Notre Dame with some lofty expectations, but to this point he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Part of the reason for that comes from playing out of position as defensive tackle in the 4-3 defense last year. He was recruited to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense and that is just what he’ll be doing in 2010. Johnson has elite talent and should be ready to shine this year.
We’ll switch over to the offensive side of the line of scrimmage for #4 – junior Trevor Robinson. It didn’t take Robinson long to wrestle a starting job away as a true freshman in 2008 and he hasn’t looked back since. Chris Stewart might be the leader of the offensive line, but Robinson is the most talented He’s got the nasty streak you look for in a lineman and has the versatility to play tackle or guard. He saw some time at right tackle during the spring and he could end staying there once training camp starts after playing the last two seasons at guard.
The third spot goes to the big man who sports the same jersey number, Michael Floyd. It might surprise some that Floyd isn’t taking up the number 1 spot in these rankings, but injury concerns knocked Floyd down a few spots. Even with the injuries over the past two seasons, Floyd has established himself as one of the top wide receivers in the country and could be a first round pick in either 2011 or 2012 depending on how well he plays this season. He is an elite talent, but he’s also missed parts of both of his first two seasons.
Manti Te’o had an inconsistent freshman season in 2009 and it surprised many when Brian Kelly said Te’o needed to get a lot better, but his talent is undeniable and he has a chance to be the type of difference making linebacker Notre Dame has largely lacked for the last 20 years or so. Even Notre Dame has had strong linebackers in recent years, they’ve tended to be more high motor guys who over achieved – players like Bobbie Howard, Brandon Hoyte, Corey Mays, and Courtney Watson. All were standout linebackers for the Irish, but none possessed the raw tools Te’o brings to the table.
And that brings us to the top spot. Junior tight end Kyle Rudolph has the chance to be the best player at his position in the country this year. He’s improved each year as a blocker and as a receiver he was already one of the nation’s best coming into the season. With his size and speed he is a matchup problem for any linebacker that tries to cover him, but for some reason he wasn’t featured in last year’s offense as much as most expected – even after the injury to Michael Floyd. Rudolph hasn’t recorded a 100 yard receiving game yet, but that should change early on in 2010.
There weren’t too many surprises in the top 5 other than Pat ranking Nick Tausch #3. I think the sophomore kicker is going to be a good one too, but the third best player on the team? Other than that, everyone had Rudolph and Floyd in the top 5’s with Floyd getting the slight edge as the overall player based on everyone’s rankings.
Update: Her Loyal Sons posted some comments on their rankings well.