Notre Dame Football: Five Potential Impact Freshmen in 2023

As another top-10 recruiting class arrives in South Bend, several talented players could help the Irish make the College Football Playoffs.

The Fighting Irish finished with the #8 recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports, and brought in a plethora of young talent. Notre Dame returns a lot of production from a 9-win team a year ago and will add several crucial transfers. Although playing time will be hard to come by, numerous freshmen are still ready to contribute immediately.

Brenan Vernon

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Rank: #18 Defensive Lineman & #145 Player Nationally (247 Sports)
  • High School: Mentor in Mentor, Ohio
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 5”, 275 lbs

Al Golden’s defense can always utilize more talent off the bench for a fresh pass rush. Brenan Vernon has been compared to the Bosa and Watt brothers. Fans may see him join the Irish pass rush throughout the game because he already has the size to compete in week one.

Christian Gray

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Rank: #10 Cornerback & #100 Player Overall (247 Sports)
  • High School: DeSmet in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 0”, 175 lbs

Gray is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. Like Benjamin Morrison in 2022, Christian Gray can see action this fall and bolster the Irish Secondary. The talented cornerback considered LSU, Ohio State, and USC, but he eventually committed to Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame.

Jaden Greathouse

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Rank: #22 Wide Receiver & #133 Player Overall (247 Sports)
  • High School: Westlake in Austin, Texas
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 2”, 220 lbs

Notre Dame lacked elite talent at the wide receiver position, and Jaden Greathouse had a tremendous career in high school. With the addition of Sam Hartman to the Irish Offense, the passing attack could benefit from the talent of Greathouse.

Jaiden Ausberry

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Rank: #11 Linebacker & #156 Player Nationally (247 Sports)
  • High School: University Lab in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 0”, 210 lbs

Ausberry was one of the highest-ranked recruits that Coach Marcus Freeman brought to this class. Notre Dame went into LSU’s backyard to get this tremendous linebacker. Even though Ausberry is not a projected starter, he could see action in a backup role in 2023.

Jeremiyah Love

  • Position: Running Back
  • Rank: #5 Running Back & #87 Player Overall (247 Sports)
  • High School: Christian Brothers College in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 0”, 190 lbs

Tommy Rees has a great group of running backs headlined by Logan Diggs, Audric Estime, Jadarian Price, and Chris Tyree, but Jeremiyah Love may be too talented to keep off the field. There are several running backs on the depth chart, but Love could get touches early in the year.

Honorable Mentions

Undoubtedly, players from each class step up earlier than anticipated, and recruiting rankings are not an exact science. Other freshmen that could see the field in 2023 include Boubacar Traore, Braylon James, Drayk Bowen, Micah Bell, and Rico Flores.

Notre Dame has added several key players in the transfer portal, limiting how often we see incoming freshmen on the field. Transfers are more physically developed and have the experience that coaches can’t teach.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, any freshmen can step up and contribute for the Fighting Irish this fall, but based on size, recruiting ranks, and overall positional needs for Notre Dame, these are the five players who stood out. Indeed, the offensive line is stacked by Harry Heistand, but other position groups are not as deep, and younger players can help instantly.

Players such as Benjamin Morrison, Blake Fisher, Joe Alt, Logan Diggs, and Tyler Buchner saw significant playing time when they were freshmen. It is rare that a freshman has a significant impact right away in today’s college football landscape, but it does happen. See Benjamin Morrison last year or Alt in 2021.

Whether or not these young athletes receive playing time this fall or in the future, Marcus Freeman has continued to take the recruiting of high school players and the transfer portal to new heights for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame fans should be excited for the future of these student-athletes.

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  1. I love the highly rated freshmen, but it feels to me like we are due for a sleeper—some 3 star who exceeds expectations and develops into a top 5 pick. It happens. It just hasn’t happened here in a long time

    1. I’m still giddy over LSU jumping in and rescuing ND from the toxicity of a very expensive, cardboard cutout fraud for a head coach. Life is good.

  2. …..meanwhile. the QB Whisperer, Brian Kelly, has done it again.
    In a big shock to LSU fans, Walker Howard, who Kelly could not land at ND, but succeeded in reeling in at LSU, is transferring to Ole Miss.

    So Kelly now has to beg, cajole, and possibly pole dance, for Garrett Nussmeier to stay…..because THAT guy could easily leave and get a starting job at a good program tomorrow. And Daniels is gone next year.

    In managing the QB position, Kelly is a proven, complete, genetic fuck-up. LSU fans will ‘get it’ eventually.

  3. This list doesn’t include Anthiny Devolder, the first ever 6-star recruit, lovechild of Joe Montana and Serena Williams, and great grandson of John Heisman.

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