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 #15-11.
For reference, players ranked #15-11 on the final list can be found HERE.
15. Kyle Brindza
Top Ranking: 2 (Punter Bro)
Bottom Ranking: Not Rated (Jamie Uyeyama, ndmspaint)
Brindza is the highest ranked player to not appear on a ballot, but is a real weapon for the Irish on special teams. While it should not come as a surprise, the resident OFD special teams guru ranked Brindza far above the rest of the group.
From Punter Bro:
Brindza possesses raw power and the ability to be both a Lou Groza and Ray Guy finalist. 97 points, a 41.1 yards per punt average, and a career long FG of 53 yards says volumes about his ability. His 75% from FG range is troubling but Brindza certainly possesses leg strength that only David Ruffer has exhibited in recent seasons.
14. Max Redfield
Top Ranking: 8 (Jim Miesle)
Bottom Ranking: 22 (Punter Bro)
I gave Redfield the highest ranking of the group, and I feel that it is justified. He saw plenty of action as a true freshman last fall and comes into camp with one of the safety spots locked up. He might be the second most talented player on the defense, and will have a chance to earn the high ranking this fall.
13. Steve Elmer
Top Ranking: 6 (ndmspaint)
Bottom Ranking: 20 (Jim Miesle)
Paint rated the offensive line highly across the board, and Elmer is no exception. I gave the OL lower marks, but mainly due to depth (ND's 2nd group would start for most schools in my opinion). Elmer earned a few spots last fall at guard, but looks to be moving to right tackle for the season.
12. Cody Riggs
Top Ranking: 8 (Larz)
Bottom Ranking: 17 (ndmspaint, Paul Rigney)
Why would a player who has never suited up for the Irish be ranked so high? Experience. Cody Riggs is one of the few proven players on the defensive side of the ball for the Irish. The coach in me understands how critical experience is. The Irish need to have a few guys in the huddle that have been battle tested. Riggs is one of those guys.
11. Jarron Jones
Top Ranking: 9 (Jamie Uyeyama)
Bottom Ranking: 17 (Punter Bro)
According to the final rankings, OFD was pretty bullish on Mr. Jones. I think it is well deserved considering how he performed last fall after Louis Nix suffered a season-ending injury. Jones is probably a better fit in the new-look defense under DC Brian VanGorder. Jones has a lot of potential, and this ranking just outside the Top 10 reflects it.