Counting Down the Irish: The One Foot Down Rankings

This was a sweet score to watch live. Yeah, they're both on the list. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

It's quickly becoming a tradition with some of the top Notre Dame blogs and media members ranking the best 25 members of the Irish football team each preseason. This has been the baby of Keith Arnold over at NBC Sports' Inside the Irish, and you can see his installments of the group's averages below:

No. 5-1

No. 10-6

No. 15-11

No. 20-16

No. 25-21

Others who participated were Eric Hansen from the South Bend Tribune, John Vannie from NDNation.com, Ryan Ritter from Her Loyal Sons, and John Walters from The Daily. I wanted to take a few moments to show you my list and speak to my ordering of the best Notre Dame players.

My personal Top 25 after the jump.

RANK POS NAME
1 MLB Manti Te'o
2 TE Tyler Eifert
3 RB Cierre Wood
4 LT Zack Martin
5 NT Louis Nix
6 FS Jamoris Slaughter
7 LG Chris Watt
8 DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
9 C Braxston Cave
10 RB Theo Riddick
11 DE Stephon Tuitt
12 RT Christian Lombard
13 OLB Prince Shembo
14 QB Everett Golson
15 RB George Atkinson III
16 WR Davonte Neal
17 CB Bennett Jackson
18 WR TJ Jones
19 MLB Dan Fox
20 OLB Ishaq Williams
21 K Nick Tausch
22 QB Tommy Rees
23 DE Sheldon Day
24 WR DaVaris Daniels
25 SS Zeke Motta

  • My rankings focused on perceived talent, experience, and production first and foremost. Beyond that, I looked at a player's potential, amount of playing time upcoming this year, and where on the depth chart they'll probably fall.
  • That's a really top-notch top five, right? I can't imagine too many teams have a better top-end to their list, but you would like to see a quarterback in there if you're a Notre Dame fan. Maybe next year...
  • Te'o is easily number one in my book, especially since he plays such an important position on the field.
  • Cierre Wood was in the top 4 of everyone's list, but only me and Her Loyal Sons had him at No. 3---and I believe Wood is going to have a big, big year.
  • You could probably make the case that Riddick deserves to be a few spots higher, but his production needs to match his potential as a playmaker. This could be that year for him.
  • Starting with Tuitt at No. 11 and through Shembo at No. 13, the potential and talent aspects are starting to make an impact in the rankings. Outside of quarterback and corner, if the team is to play well in 2012, these three players are going to have to step up in a big way.
  • I have Golson at No. 14 which I think is appropriate given his skill-set, potential, and possibility of being the starter this season. The other panelists put EG at 20, 12, 19, 18, and 5 respectively, so I'm comfortable where he is on my list.
  • I'm not wedded to anything after ranking No. 17---it really got difficult to place people on the list, let alone try to rank them in appropriate order.
  • I felt like Rees needed to be on this list somewhere---half of us put Tommy in their top 25 and half didn't. We've often focused on his failures but remember the touchdown passes against Michigan State and Wake Forest? The last drive against Pitt? The deep ball to Floyd in the Champs Sports Bowl? There is some quality in there, and he might still be productive for the Irish this season.
  • I put two true freshmen on the list, Davonte Neal and Sheldon Day, as I think they'll get a lot of minutes and make a big impact as youngsters.
  • HLS caused an uproar last year by putting kicker David Ruffer No. 1, then no one even put a specialists on their list this year except for me. I think Tausch's success when he's been on the field earns him a spot.
  • I really wanted to make room for Robby Toma and more tight ends, but I just didn't know where to put them or who to take out. Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack were fairly high on some lists, but I just don't know how productive these guys will be in relation to a starter like Zeke Motta---even if Motta has been mediocre and inconsistent his whole career.
  • DaVaris Daniels would probably be the one player I can see moving up this board quite a bit this time next year. Most had him in the high teens, but I lowered him a little bit just because we don't know what the QB situation looks like yet, and how much playing time he'll get. He is the second highest ranked receiver, which says enough I think.

Your thoughts?

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