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. This edition covers players ranked #20-16.
For reference, the final results for players #20-16 can be found HERE.
20. Cam McDaniel
Top Ranking: 14 (Punter Bro)
Bottom Ranking: Not Rated (Jamie Uyeyama, Jim Miesle, Paul Rigney)
McDaniel is a bit of an interesting case. Despite having the most experience of the running back corps, he will likely be the third guy in the offensive rotation. He could be an option to salt away games late as a (relatively) fresh set of legs, but there was too much uncertainty in the way he will get used this fall for me to put him in the Top 25.
19. Ishaq Williams
Top Ranking: 14 (4pointshooter)
Bottom Ranking: 25 (Jamie Uyeyama)
Ishaq is the lowest player on our list to be ranked by all of the panelists. There probably isn't a defensive player that will benefit more from the new system brought in by Brian VanGorder. Fans have been waiting for him to deliver on his promise-this fall he will be put in a position to more effectively showcase his skills.
18. Cole Luke
Top Ranking: 13 (Jim Miesle)
Bottom Ranking: Not Rated (Paul Rigney)
I guess I am a bit bullish on Luke, eh? Heading into camp, I think he is a big favorite to win the other starting corner job opposite Russell. Given what we have seen/heard of the new defense, the corners will have a lot more responsibility that under Diaco. The play of both are important, but the Russell has two years of starting experience.
17. Corey Robinson
Top Ranking: 8 (Paul Rigney)
Bottom Ranking: Not Rated (Jim Miesle)
For the record, we had two panelists rank Robinson twice on their Top 25 list. They might also be related. I left the young Mr. Robinson off of my list because I think there are a few other receivers who will get more targets (and touches). I expect him to see plenty of action in the red zone, but may not get as many looks between the 20s.
16. Christian Lombard
Top Ranking: 5 (ndmspaint)
Bottom Ranking: Not Rated (Jim Miesle, Punter Bro)
To be honest, the only reason I left Lombard off of my list is because he is coming off of injury. Also, because of the ridiculous depth along the offensive line. I guess that makes two reasons. Either way, I understand and appreciate the importance of Lombard-but outside of Nick Martin and Ronnie Stanley, I think there are plenty of interchangeable parts.