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 #5-1.
The overall Top 5 players can be found HERE.
For reference, here is the rest of the Top 25:
25. Malik Zaire
24. Nyles Morgan
23. Joe Schmidt
22. Chris Brown
21. Romeo Okwara
20. Cam McDaniel
19. Ishaq Williams
18. Cole Luke
17. Corey Robinson
16. Christian Lombard
15. Kyle Brindza
14. Max Redfield
13. Steve Elmer
12. Cody Riggs
11. Jarron Jones
10. Greg Bryant
9. Tarean Folston
8. Ben Koyack
7. Nick Martin
6. DaVaris Daniels
5. Ronnie Stanley
Top Ranking: 2 (Larz)
Bottom Ranking: 8 (Punter Bro)
Ronnie Stanley represents the more game experience (aside from Lombard) of a talented offensive line unit, and also happens to protect Golson's blind side. The ranking explains itself. That, and the fact that he is probably a 2nd round NFL pick at worst.
Why did I rank Stanley so high? I expect him to be the best player on the offensive line and I think the offensive line might be the best position group on the 2014 team.
4. Sheldon Day
Top Ranking: 2 (ndmspaint)
Bottom Ranking: 7 (Jim Miesle)
To be fair, I made my rankings before the news about Tony Springmann came out a little over a week ago. Day deserves his spot in the Top 5 and should have the opportunity to showcase more of his talents with the aggressive scheme installed by Brian VanGorder.
3. KeiVarae Russell
Top Ranking: 1 (Larz)
Bottom Ranking: 9 (ndmspaint)
I think the secondary is critical to the success of the defense (and ultimately the team) in 2014. KVR should be the best player in the secondary next year. If he can become a lockdown corner, it will provide Brian VanGorder with many more options from a scheme perspective and make the entire defense better. I also think we'll see KVR emerge as THE vocal leader on the defensive side of the ball.
2. Everett Golson
Top Ranking: 1 (Jamie Uyeyama, Jim Miesle, 4pointshooter, Punter Bro - aka #TeamNotSleepingonEG)
Bottom Ranking: 11 (Paul Rigney)
He who must not be slept upon returns and the offense is primed to be explosive with a stout line and playmakers across the board. What is not to like about the guy who handles the ball on every play?
From Punter Bro:
It seems so far, in BK's tenure, that the team lives and dies by the success of the QB. Golson is 11-1 as a starter (12-1 if you count him playing most of Miami in 2012).
Note from author: I won’t tell him that Golson missed the game against BYU if you don’t #details
1. Jaylon Smith
Top Ranking: 1 (ndmspaint, Paul Rigney)
Bottom Ranking: 5 (Punter Bro)
Smith is the most talented athlete on the team and will continue to grow as one of the leaders (if not THE leader) on the defense. What else is there to say?
From Punter Bro:
This is going to be a good year to see how Jaylon adjusts under a new defensive coordinator. He is so physically gifted that I think he will still remain one of the best players on the roster.