Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish asked us to participate in his annual ranking of the Top 25 players on the Notre Dame roster. Generally, we let one of the staff take care of this, but instead this year applied a little group-think to our rankings. There were seven staff members to submit votes (Jamie Uyeyama, Larz, 4pointshooter, ndmspaint, Paul Rigney, Punter Bro, myself) in order to create the OFD rankings.
Voters used whatever criteria they deemed appropriate to rank the players-talent, impact, potential-you get the idea.
We will unveil our ballot throughout the week after Keith makes the overall rankings public. For the first edition, we will unveil our honorable mentions-those who received votes, but didn't fall within the Top 25.
A link to Keith's Honorable Mentions can be found HERE.
26. Ben Councell
Top Ranking: 16 (Jim Miesle)
Councell has bounced back from a knee injury and appears primed to win a starting role-likely at the Sam linebacker spot. There have been questions about the linebacker corps as a whole outside of Jaylon Smith, so if Councell does in fact win the job as the strong-side backer Mouth can rest easy about his ability to take on opposing offensive lineman.
27. Jarrett Grace
Top Ranking: 19 (ndmspaint)
Grace appeared on three different ballots, but many questions still linger about his recovery. Coach Brian Kelly stated that he has a chance to be ready for the start of the season, but conventional wisdom says that fans may not see him until sometime in October.
28. Austin Collinsworth
Top Ranking: 21 (Larz)
I think Collinsworth is a little underrated. I believe his starting experience is going to be critical in the development of our young safeties. As well, I think BVG is going to bring in a system that suits Collinsworth's skill set.
29. Elijah Shumate
Top Ranking: 17 (Jim Miesle)
This season might be the put-up or shut-up year for Shumate. He made an impact as a freshman as the primary nickel corner, but appeared to regress as a sophomore. The starting job is there for someone to grab-can Shumate put it together in camp?
30. Durham Smythe
Top Ranking: 19 (Paul Rigney)
Smythe might be the default option at #2 on the TE depth chart with Mike Heuerman's recovery from surgery. He should factor as an offensive option, especially as a red zone option this fall.
31. Amir Carlisle
Top Ranking: 21 (Punter Bro)
From Punter Bro:
Amir has enough athletic ability to warrant placement in the top 25. Many fans forget that he missed over a full season for injuries and a transfer, so it is understandable there were potential growing pains with him last season. What interests me this coming season is how he will handle the kick and punt returning duties. Readers of OFD know of my issues with George Atkinson III and what I saw from Amir at the end of the season really has me excited for this season.
32. Nicky Baratti
Top Ranking: 21 (Paul Rigney)
I am actually a little ashamed of myself for leaving #BARATTI off of my ballot, but there are questions around his recovery from injury. If healthy, he will compete for one of the starting safety spots.
33. Devin Butler
Top Ranking: 22 (ndmspaint)
Butler worked his way onto the field last fall as a true freshman, and will look to compete for the starting corner opposite KeiVarae Russell.
34. C.J. Prosise
Top Ranking: 22 (Paul Rigney)
Prosise appeared on just one ballot, but figures to be a much larger part of the offense with the graduation of TJ Jones. He may also factor in special teams as an option for returning punts.
35. Mike McGlinchey
Top Ranking: 23 (Jamie Uyeyama)
McGlinchey appeared on just one ballot, likely due to the uncertainty around just who will win the 5th starting spot on the offensive line.
36. Will Fuller
Top Ranking: 24 (Jamie Uyeyama)
Will Fuller appeared on two ballots, and showed some flashes as a true freshman in 2013. Will he battle for a starting spot this fall?
37. Andrew Trumbetti
Top Ranking: 23 (4pointshooter)
Trumbetti has the potential to earn some reps at defensive end this fall, likely as a pass rush specialist.
38. James Onwualu
Top Ranking: 23 (Punter Bro)
From Punter Bro:
If there was a special teams MVP not named Brindza last year, it was probably Onwualu. He is fast, strong, and very athletic. He should see more time in a non-special teams role this season and I think he warrants placement, given his ability, in the top 25.
39. Scott Daly
Top Ranking: 25 (Punter Bro)
From Punter Bro:
The kickers and punters don't always get the recognition they deserve but many forget if it weren't for the snapper, the kick/punter would not have occurred. Daly is a fantastic snapper, probably one of the best since JJ Jansen. He certainly deserves recognition.
40 (tie). Torii Hunter
Top Ranking: Honorable Mention (Jim Miesle)
Hunter seems to be the forgotten guy on the offensive side of the ball right now. Due to inexperience at tight end, we are going to see a lot more action from the slot receiver. Hunter could be that guy to win the majority of reps and make a big impact after losing last season to injury.
40 (tie). John Turner
Top Ranking: Honorable Mention (Punter Bro)
From Punter Bro:
If Onwualu was the non-Brindza Special Teams MVP, Turner was certainly the runner up.