The last few years of And In That Corner … previews of Notre Dame’s meeting USC spent extensive time on the job status of former Trojans head coach Clay Helton. Finally, that storyline is far in the past and everything else about No. 6 USC (10-1) is intriguing.
To catch up on all that has changed for the Trojans — maybe the only program in the country that can match the Irish for amounts of drastic changes in the last 52 weeks — let’s chat with Adam Grosbard of the Orange County Register before kickoff on Saturday night at 7:30 ET on ABC.
DF: Brian Kelly’s favorite axiom that Marcus Freeman has leaned into a bit is that “Winning is hard.” It is. And anytime a team has must-win after must-win after must-win, it can wear out the 18- to 23-year-olds. USC may be at that risk, coming off that back-and-forth 48-45 win at UCLA last week and with the Pac-12 title game awaiting in a week. Though only one game into that three-game stretch, do you sense any version of the high-wire act wearing out the Trojans?
AG: Not really, though it would be tough for anyone on the outside to sense that prior to Saturday’s game. USC has had opportunities to overlook games all season. Fresno State before Oregon State, Arizona State before Washington State and Utah, Colorado before UCLA. The Trojans never allowed themselves to get caught looking. It’s hard to look past a rival like No. 15 Notre Dame (8-3), especially when the team understands it’s two wins away from the College Football Playoff. And defensive tackle and captain Tuli Tuipulotu described this season as “the revenge tour” for returning Trojans — they are well aware no player on the roster has ever beaten Notre Dame while at USC.
This whole season has been a high-wire act for USC. It may be 10-1, but four of those wins came by one score, barely escaping at Oregon State and Arizona before that UCLA close call, not to mention giving up 35 points to Cal. Both Arizona and Cal needed late touchdowns to make the scores that close, but even two-possession wins against the bottom half of the Pac 12 should be concerning for a Playoff contender. What has it been about the Trojans that leads to such drama this year?
In a word, defense. The unit has generated headlines by creating turnovers, but it also has been extremely shaky at tackling and basic coverage. The defense had the furthest to go after the Clay Helton era, and it’s nowhere near a final product and likely won’t be for at least another year. But USC scores enough and creates enough turnovers to win in spite of its shortcomings.
Obviously, the story at USC is the offense. If quarterback Caleb Williams stars Saturday, he could find himself as the Heisman frontrunner on Sunday. The offseason headlines were about him and Pittsburgh transfer Jordan Addison, but the Trojans pulled in two transfer running backs, as well, in Travis Dye from Oregon and Austin Jones from Stanford. Dye is now out for the season. How much has that changed USC’s offense?
It really hasn’t at all, surprisingly. Dye was a tremendous weapon for USC, but Austin Jones stepped right into his shoes with 25 touches for 177 yards and two touchdowns against UCLA. Jones was a workhorse back at Stanford for a while before falling out of favor. He is a patient veteran back who doesn’t try to do too much. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that USC misses Dye. The senior back was unstoppable in third-and-short, and Jones does not match Dye’s ability as a pass blocker.
Defensively, the Trojans are playing with fire. They force 2.2 turnovers per game, mostly picking off opposing quarterbacks (18 interceptions in 11 games). Let’s set aside the absurd turnover margin of +20, and focus on the defensive chaos. Only Washington State has avoided giving up the ball against USC this season. UCLA can point to four turnovers as to how it lost. What are the Trojans doing to force all these turnovers? There must be more to it than luck, even if 13 of 17 fumbles, including their own, going their way is a bit fortuitous.
I’m honestly not sure this is explicable, because there certainly is luck involved. But I respect defensive coordinator Alex Grinch‘s simple philosophy that the ball doesn’t know that it’s supposed to go to the offense, and the ball doesn’t know about the law of averages.
To me, those may be the two keys this weekend. Can Notre Dame turn USC’s offense one-dimensional — for all Caleb Williams’ deserved hype, any offense that averages 5.34 yards per rush will struggle to adjust if it can no longer rely on the ground game — and avoid gifting the Trojans’ defense a few more turnovers? If yes and yes, then an upset may be brewing. What would you pinpoint as a third key?
Can USC get some tackles for loss? That’s been an under-the-radar part of the USC defense this year, but USC averages more than six tackles for loss per game and just fewer three sacks per game. That’s how the Trojans’ defense has gotten off the field in its better games, by creating third-and-long situations for opposing offenses. Notre Dame conversely has been very good about preventing negative plays, so that will be an area to watch for me.
Before I get to asking you for a prediction, let’s jump back to November and to August. First of all, last November, when Lincoln Riley took the USC job less than 24 hours after the Oklahoma season ended, how shocked were you?
The night before the Riley hire was announced, a leak came out that Matt Campbell was staying at Iowa State. At that point, I was honestly wondering if USC was about to end up with Jack Del Rio as coach. So to say I was shocked when the Riley news dropped would be an understatement.
And in August, what did you expect from the Trojans this season?
In one sense, this team is exactly what I expected: A superb offense that needs to outscore a bad defense. What I did not expect was how quickly the offense would come together, or how many turnovers USC would force. Because without turnovers, you’re probably looking at a respectable 8-3 team right now, which was more in line with my expectations.
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) November 22, 2022
Now then, a prediction. USC is favored by 5.5, as of late Wednesday night. How do you see Saturday night playing out?
I’m expecting a lot of points, possibly a game that comes down to who has the ball last. In those games, I usually pick the team with the better quarterback so in this case I’m picking USC and Caleb Williams.
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The first two notable dates of college football’s offseason passed last week, the deadline for players to enter the transfer portal before the spring semester and the deadline to enter the NFL draft. The former hardly warranted much notice at Notre Dame, only three players entering the portal after the 2022 season. While plenty did transfer from other programs, a mid-May look at that movement may better serve Irish purposes, as plenty of names will eventually leave Notre Dame.
The NFL deadline has no second passing. Players are either headed toward the NFL draft by now or they are not.
The Irish lost five players to early entry to the NFL, though two of those instances were offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson and defensive end Justin Ademilola, both of whom would have been returning for sixth collegiate seasons in 2023. So in a more genuine sense, Notre Dame lost only three players early to the NFL draft: tight end Michael Mayer, defensive end Isaiah Foskey and safety Brandon Joseph.
All five would have started for the Irish next season, obviously. But at most, Ademilola’s and Joseph’s declarations were surprises, and even those were only mild at most.
College football will slowly churn back toward college careers following “normal” timelines and more tenable roster management the further it gets from the universal pandemic eligibility waiver from 2020. That will not take all the way until the 2025 season. Coaches are already leaning toward it.
While Notre Dame would have gladly welcomed back Patterson and/or Ademilola, it also knew two realities.
1) Patterson should be a second- or third-round draft pick who could have gone to the NFL a year ago. His time is now.
2) A year of Ademilola’s production would come at the expense of the development of younger players that may already be on the verge, somewhat deflating the value of his return.
In a parallel way, coaching staffs fall into two categories.
1) Either they are doing well and trust they can recruit better players than any draft debaters now. Leaning into continued successful recruiting lengthens the timeline these coaches expect to continue to succeed.
2) Or they are failing and soon fired. A new coach would rather bring in new players, “his players,” to reboot the program.
In both scenarios, fewer and fewer sixth-year players will be seen around college football long before the 2025 season rules them out entirely.
All of that is to say, when discussing entrants into the NFL draft, it is more and more accurate to focus on the juniors (like Mayer) and the seniors (Foskey, Joseph) rather than the half-decade veterans. Those losses from Notre Dame’s 2023 opponents, in order of most severe to least …
Ohio State: Losing quarterback C.J. Stroud would top this list no matter who else was on it. Stroud alone would have made the Buckeyes the title favorites next season. Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba also jumped to the NFL, though his final collegiate season was effectively nullified when a Joseph tackle in the season opener injured Smith-Njigba’s hamstring to an extent he never genuinely returned in 2022.
Center Luke Wypler and offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. headed to the next level, as well, along with defensive tackle Dawand Jones and defensive back Ronnie Hickman.
But those latter losses are anticipated at elite programs. Ohio State has recruited to replace most of these players. The Buckeyes barely missed Smith-Njigba in 2022, and he may be the best receiver in the draft. Stroud, however, is a loss that will throw the early part of Ohio State’s 2023 into some question.
Clemson: Similarly, the Tigers losing three defensive linemen in Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and K.J. Henry along with linebacker Trenton Simpson may be too much to overcome in stride. As Clemson has so terribly struggled — throw some sarcasm on that phrasing — to just 10 and 11 wins the last two season, it has leaned on its defensive front.
The Tigers gave up only 102.7 rushing yards per game in 2022, No. 13 in the country, and 20.9 points per game, No. 22 in the country. A year ago, Clemson ranked No. 7 and No. 2 in the respective categories.
Replacing 29.5 tackles for loss from the 2022 season including 16 sacks will be a difficult task. Perhaps “terribly struggled” will no longer warrant sarcasm.
Pittsburgh: Not many programs saw two All-Americans jump to the NFL, but the Panthers did in running back Israel Abanikanda (1,431 yards on 5.99 yards per carry with 20 rushing touchdowns) and defensive lineman Calijah Kancey (14 tackles for loss with 7 sacks in 11 games). Safety Brandon Hill also provided Pittsburgh’s defense some versatility.
USC: The Trojans also lost two All-Americans to the NFL — which, come to think of it, Notre Dame did, as well, in Mayer and Foskey — in receiver Jordan Addison and defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu. To be more clear, Addison was not a 2022 All-American, but one at Pittsburgh back in 2021. Injuries slowed him a touch in 2022, but overall, his talent is All-American in caliber.
Stanford: The Cardinal’s talent drain this offseason will warrant a deep dive. It is one to behold. The first line on it is quarterback Tanner McKee heading to the NFL with some draftniks thinking he should be an early-round pick.
When Stanford upset Notre Dame in October, McKee led the way with 288 yards on an impressive 26-of-38 completion rate. Losing him will drastically change the Cardinal ceiling in 2023, which is saying something considering how low that ceiling already was.
Central Michigan: Running back Lew Nicholls III did not have the statistical profile of someone who should head to the NFL already, with all of 616 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 2022, but look back to 2021 and his choice makes more sense. He ran for 1,848 yards and 16 touchdowns with another 338 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Navy, Tennessee State, North Carolina State, Duke, Louisville and Wake Forest did not lose players to any early NFL decisions.
If this list seems abbreviated, that’s because it is throughout college football. Name, image and likeness rights have made it more enticing for players to return to school Reportedly, fewer players entered this draft early than at any time in the last decade.
To think, so many people insisted NIL rights would ruin college football. Here is hard evidence it has upgraded the talent in the sport.
At least one #IrishInTheNFL is guaranteed a spot in the #SuperBowl…
… but who will it be?#GoIrish https://t.co/c5Noe5gQ7u
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) January 21, 2023
INSIDE THE IRISH
— Trio of early-enrolling Notre Dame receivers most likely of dozen arrivals to impact 2023
— 40 Preseason Predictions Revisited, part I: ND’s rushing offense hid many early struggles
— 40 Preseason Predictions Revisited, part II: Upset losses should have been expected from a first-year head coach
According to sources, Kathryn Tappen will make a return to @NBCSports as a sideline reporter for the @B1Gfootball primetime football package 🏈
Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge will lead NBC’s Big Ten booth, while Maria Taylor will head the studio coverage. pic.twitter.com/1wOaAl7kCF
— Sports Business Journal (@SBJ) January 17, 2023
— 2023 NFL Draft Big Board: PFF’s top 100 prospects
— ‘Everything’s on fire’: NIL collectives are the latest patchwork solution for college athlete pay
— Numbers show NIL benefits college football
— Has legalized betting led to more hurtful social media actions? Some admins think so.
— Best college football games of 2022 season
— Blazers’ Justise Winslow’s ‘giant, little steps’ out of the darkness
~one year ago, Notre Dame had two of the longest tenured football and men’s basketball head coaches in all of college sports.
When that is the case, the moment of two young/new coaches is inevitable, but it’s still a whirlwind as it occurs.
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) January 19, 2023
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To continue a final look back at Notre Dame’s 2022 season through the lens of preseason predictions and the expectations they framed …
11) The most underappreciated part of the Irish resurgence since 2017 and thus Brian Kelly’s final years coaching in South Bend was that Notre Dame won 42 straight games against unranked opponents, the longest streak in the country. It was so taken for granted, this prediction thought the Irish would run that to 50 games in 2023.
Instead, Marcus Freeman lost his very first game against an unranked opponent. (8 correct predictions out of 11.)
12) A few predictions always delve out of college football, for variety’s sake. Maybe that should be forgotten moving forward, considering the Packers neither beat the Vikings to open the season nor won the NFC North. To make matters even worse for this scribe of a lapsed Packers fan, they also were not bad enough to draft a good quarterback in 2023. (8 out of 12.)
13) North Carolina leaned on dynamic receiver Josh Downs to prodigious amounts in 2021. An early-season injury slowed him this year, thus ruining any chance of him having “the most catches in a game against the Irish this season, though not the most yards.”
He caught five passes for 32 yards.
Ohio State receiver Emeka Egbuka set the catches mark with nine for 90 yards to open the season, while BYU’s Kody Epps caught four passes for 100 yards, the season high in yardage against Notre Dame. (8/13)
14) Notre Dame played a multiple-look defense this season, a layup of a prediction given the linebacker depth and versatility led by Jack Kiser and (eventually injured) Bo Bauer. That was emphasized at USC when the Irish leaned into a 3-3-5 look without both cornerback Cam Hart and nickel back Tariq Bracy. Kiser’s speed became the defense’s best chance.
It was not enough, but it was a valiant effort, and one to keep in mind in 2023. (9/14)
15) “The math says at least one Irish player will be ejected for targeting in 2022.”
Enter JD Bertrand, twice. (10/15)
16) “Notre Dame will beat BYU in Las Vegas.”
Despite a lackluster second-half, check.
“… This space will miss at least one day of publishing the following week. Who can say why.”
Let’s check the running content calendar. For Tuesday, Oct. 11, it reads, “Vegas won this round.” Sometimes it is best to foresee your own personal failures. (11/16)
17) Marcus Freeman’s recruiting emphasis never waned, underscored by the last two years of recruiting topping anything the Irish have ever done. (12/17)
Things We Learned: With the December signing period coming to a close, it is clear that #NotreDame‘s recruiting has leveled up — https://t.co/EM8P3KuwRg
— Notre Dame on NBC (@NDonNBC) December 23, 2022
18) The only area in which Michael Mayer fell short in his Notre Dame career was of this prediction, one saying he would casually break two of his own three Irish single-season records. To do so, he needed to exceed 71 catches, 840 receiving yards and/or seven touchdowns.
The surefire first-round draft pick merely caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine scores.
Would he have reached all three metrics if he played in the Gator Bowl? Almost assuredly. But then again, he played in only 12 games in 2021, too. The prediction was wrong, regardless. (12/18)
19) Another thought about an individual record, defensive end Isaiah Foskey did not exceed Justin Tuck’s record of 13.5 sacks in a season. He did take down the quarterback 11 times, reaching double digits for a second consecutive season while setting the Notre Dame career mark. (12/19)
A cynic (me): Isaiah Foskey needed four years to get to 26.5 sacks. Justin Tuck needed only three.
Me, looking at their careers: Eh, were Foskey’s first four games really chances for sacks? If not …
Tuck: 0.68 sacks per game
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) December 9, 2022
20) Similar to prediction No. 11, an underappreciated part of Kelly’s final five years in South Bend were that the Irish won 39 straight games when favored at kickoff, covering all of the 2018-21 seasons.
Both to suggest that would continue and to guess how many times Notre Dame would be favored in 2022, arguing that streak would reach 48 was right in that the Irish were favored in nine of 13 games. They just happened to lose the first of those (and then again against Stanford, the fourth time they would be favored this season).
Such blunders should have been expected from a first-year head coach. Those missteps seem to catch just about every such rookie. But forgetting or overlooking that led to dashed expectations in 2022. (12/20)
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Delayed accountability is better than no accountability, and with the modern college football calendar, this accountability is barely delayed. Notre Dame’s season may have ended nearly three weeks ago, but the combination of the College Football Playoff and the ever-flowing transfer portal kept those three weeks busier than not.
By hauling in five starter-quality transfers, the Irish and the modern college football calendar provided some newfound content in the stretch. That does not mean 40 preseason predictions should be forgotten.
Acknowledging each mistake should never be skipped, particularly since many of them shed light on where Notre Dame fell short in Marcus Freeman’s debut season. All 40 will be tackled in time. For today, the first 10 …
1) The first preseason prediction tied back to Freeman’s first day as the Irish head coach, expecting the highlight of his introduction to his new team to be featured on the first two broadcasts of Notre Dame’s season. NBC had the raspy introduction in hand for the opener, but I am not certain it actually aired. (o/1)
a player’s coach@Marcus_Freeman1 | #GoIrish pic.twitter.com/pf9E1OygA8
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 3, 2021
2) The expectation that Notre Dame’s rushing effectiveness would improve compared to 2021 took some time to bear fruit, and that delay clouded the statistical betterment. In 2021, the Irish finished No. 99 in the country in expected points added per rush. This past season, that rose to just No. 89.
Blame the first three games. At Ohio State, Notre Dame gained only three first downs via rush and then eight (compared to 11 passing first downs) against Marshall in Freeman’s home debut. The Irish averaged 2.5 yards per rush against the Buckeyes, 3.5 against the Herd and 3.6 against Cal.
That all changed at North Carolina, exploding for 287 rushing yards on 51 carries, gaining 17 first downs on the ground. In the following nine games, only twice would Notre Dame fall short of at least 4.4 yards per carry: Leaning on the passing game to blow past Navy (1.9 yards per rush) and on the same aspect to try to keep up at USC (3.5 yards per rush).
The Irish averaged 4.6 yards on 532 carries with 139 first downs. Let’s put those into some comparison. Adjusting for sacks, Notre Dame gained 20 more yards rushing than passing and averaged 5.06 yards per carry. It gained 16 more first downs on the ground than through the air. Oddly, the Irish scored 25 touchdowns through each method.
The preseason prediction emphasized, “Reclaiming effectiveness on the ground will be crucial.” Some of that is relative, but in this instance, relative to 2021.
A year ago, adjusting for sacks, Notre Dame gained 1,803 yards fewer rushing than passing. It gained 167 first downs passing and just 92 rushing. Touchdowns tilted toward through the air, 30, rather than rushing, 23.
The Irish returned to the ground in 2022, partly because its change in quarterback demanded it and partly because that will forever be how offensive coordinator Tommy Rees prefers to operate. (1/2)
3) “Sophomore Audric Estimé could be the key to the Irish ground game.”
He led Notre Dame with 920 yards, 5.9 yards per rush and 11 rushing touchdowns. Nailed this one. (2/3)
Audric Estime with 10+ touchdowns? Hmmm … Let’s take a quick meander down recent season leaders.
2021: Kyren Williams 17
2020: Williams 14
2019: Chase Claypool 13
2018: Dexter Williams 13
2017: Brandon Wimbush with 14 rushing TDs. https://t.co/1YfQ6oWMt2
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) September 2, 2022
4) “The Irish will score first [at Ohio State].” Blake Grupe’s 33-yard field goal made this accurate, but stay tuned on the sentiment. (3/4)
5) “And they will still lose at Ohio State.” That 21-10 momentary moral victory was still a loss. (4/5)
6) “The Buckeyes will make the College Football Playoff.” Not all these predictions will be so clearly correct. (5/6)
7) And Playoff expansion will once again dominant too many thoughts in the season. This will be the case until the first season of the 12-team Playoff. And when that day comes, for the sake of enjoying unique football atmospheres, let’s hope Notre Dame is one of the top-eight teams in the country, thus hosting a quarterfinal Playoff game most likely on Dec. 21.
Unofficial* calendar lists 12/20/24 as the last day of Fall semester finals:https://t.co/gs05g1CSGZ
— Brian Fremeau (@ndfremeau) December 2, 2022
There is precedent for the University allowing students to stay an extra day for a sporting event the weekend before Christmas. When the Irish hosted UCLA on Dec. 19 — the day after classes had ended and when students are usually required to be out of the dorms by the afternoon — anyone going to the men’s basketball game could stick around until Sunday. (6/7)
8) Did you stay tuned on that score-first sentiment?
“Notre Dame will score first in at least nine games this season.” The opening script used to be a Rees strong point. It was not in 2022. Yet, the Irish still almost made this prediction correct, even if the sentiment was wildly off base.
The Irish would not score again in the first quarter until the fifth game of the year, against BYU, another Grupe field goal. They would not enjoy a first-quarter touchdown until the seventh game, against UNLV.
Charitably, Brandon Joseph’s 29-yard interception return for a touchdown at Syracuse came on the game’s first play, but then Notre Dame’s offense would need until halfway through the second quarter to find points. The same could be said against Clemson, a punt block in the first quarter that summed up the game until a last-minute touchdown before the half.
A strong first half against Navy and a shutout of Boston College changed this trend, but then this prediction died an early death when the Irish fell behind early at USC, though they did the same against South Carolina.
All in all, Notre Dame scored first seven times this season, but the prediction was worse than simply being off by two given the repeated first-half struggles from Rees’ offense. (6/8)
9) The Irish were expected to be heavily favored against Marshall, predicting by at least 17 points. They were favored by 20 points.
Separately, prediction No. 9 simply said, “Some favorite of at least 13 points will lose by the end of [the second week of the season].”
This is, uhhh, awkward … (7/9)
10) “Jac Collinsworth will provide the one characteristic that is most vital to a broadcast booth. He will be excited to be there at Notre Dame Stadium.”
Collinsworth absolutely provided that excitement in the broadcast booth, the one characteristic that no production magic can manufacture. (8/10)
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The well-intentioned instinct is to insist the dozen freshmen enrolling early at Notre Dame this week are unlikely to make a noticeable impact in the fall. Starting their collegiate courseloads Tuesday and strength and conditioning work six months ahead of their classmates will have benefits, but those typically do not show themselves via touchdowns and tackles in the immediate fall.
Irish head coach Marcus Freeman made it a point during December’s signing period to highlight how few of last year’s freshmen played notable roles in 2022. Only five players burned a season of eligibility, and only cornerbacks Benjamin Morrison and Jaden Mickey were regular contributors all season long. For that matter, while Mickey enrolled early a year ago and impressed in the spring, it was the summertime-arrival Morrison who earned freshman All-American honors.
“When you bring these guys in, it’s going to take a little bit of time to really be able to run out there at Notre Dame Stadium and have a huge impact on our program,” Freeman said. “It takes time. Very few guys can come in here and play and start right away.”
That is the well-intentioned instinct, to once again echo Freeman.
But one position group should be the exception in 2023. Maybe no freshman receiver will star in as many highlights as Morrison did as he intercepted six passes in the last five games of the year, but with three receivers enrolling early this week and the position group desperately needing more of a rotation, they should impact 2023.
As is, only rising juniors Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas, and rising sophomore Tobias Merriweather return for Notre Dame, along with former walk-on, sixth-year Matt Salerno. Combined, they caught 70 passes for 997 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Irish would rather one receiver put up that kind of stat line.
That should not be expected from Jaden Greathouse, Rico Flores or Braylon James, but even just running a handful of routes each week will give Notre Dame some receiver depth it hasn’t enjoyed in a couple years and desperately needs.
“That’s what the coaches have been telling me, is that they want to be throwing the ball all over the field,” Greathouse said to Inside ND Sports. “And I think once our recruiting class starts making an impact, we’ll definitely be able to start doing that.
“So, why not start that process as soon as possible? I’m excited. I trust the coaches, for sure. They definitely know what they’re doing, and I can’t wait to get it rolling.”
Welcome home ☘️#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/shId0yj6jP
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) January 14, 2023
The early-enrolling freshmen trio of receivers will be all the more vital given the most notable arrival for Notre Dame this semester. Little may be outright expected from the dozen freshmen beginning classes this week, but much is wanted from the five incoming transfers, most notably quarterback Sam Hartman and receiver Kaleb Smith.
As college football has undergone some rapid changes in the last couple of seasons as it pertains to roster management, spring practices have found a renewed importance. A sixth-year quarterback who will turn 24 in late July, Hartman will need the 15 practices to learn Tommy Rees’ offense. He has not had years of percolating to do so as would usually be the case with a new starting quarterback. The reps will have even more value than they did, say, a year ago as Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne competed to be the starting quarterback.
Love bigger than the ocean is wide… @kenny_minchey pic.twitter.com/1Ekem4tL6s
— T. Taylor Minchey (@tt_minchey) January 15, 2023
INCOMING EARLY ENROLLEES: Greathouse, Flores, James, quarterback Kenny Minchey, offensive lineman Sam Pendleton, safeties Ben Minich and Adon Shuler, cornerback Christian Gray, linebackers Jaiden Ausberry, Drayk Bowen and Preston Zinter, and defensive tackle Devan Houstan.
INCOMING TRANSFERS: Hartman, Smith, safety Thomas Harper, defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste, kicker Spencer Shrader.
Hartman’s first chance to shine in a gold helmet — well, a gold helmet that does not have a “WF” on it — will come in the Blue-Gold Game, officially set for April 22.
For the third year in a row, the spring finale will be broadcast exclusively on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
transfer portal additions as of today pic.twitter.com/Wg0UOv756l
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) January 13, 2023
INSIDE THE IRISH
— Opening 2023 title odds paint similar picture for Notre Dame next season
— And In That Corner … A deep dive into former Wake Forest, new Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman
— Ohio State DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste transfers to Notre Dame
— Greathouse leads a new wave of Irish WRs ready to make an early impression
— State of USC’s football program: Overhaul complete. Now comes the ‘critical’ stage
— Top 25 college football players in the transfer portal
— Highest-graded players at every position after the 2022-23 college football season
P5 vs P5 in playoff era (includes ND) by win%:
1 Bama, 90-12
2 OhSt, 86-13
3 Clemson, 93-16
4 UGA, 82-21
5 Okla, 76-25
6 ND, 64-27
7 Wisc, 62-31
8 Mich, 62-32
9 Iowa, 63-35
10 Oregon, 62-35
— 💫🅰️♈️🆔 (@ADavidHaleJoint) January 12, 2023
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