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Notre Dame Football: My “Counting Down The Irish” Ballot, 20-11

More Notre Dame player scrutiny from afar.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It's August and that means that our friend Douglas Farmer is continuing the good work that his predecessor Keith Arnold was doing at Inside The Irish. That's right, it's time for Counting Down the Irish.

In an effort of providing full disclosure, I will be releasing my ballots with a brief explanation a little later, after Doug posts the results.

My rankings are based on the importance of the player to the success of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. Or, at least, that's what I'm telling myself.

#20 Alize Mack, Tight End

I firmly stand by this ranking (until he proves me wrong). For all the hype, we haven’t many results. I know he is an immense talent, and he can really help make this offense dynamic, but I’m just waiting.

#19 Tommy Kraemer, Right Tackle

Kraemer is going to be the starting right tackle this season, even if he hasn’t been officially named yet. He’s a big boy, and between him, Liam Eichenberg, and Robert Hainsey, Kraemer fits the mold of this offensive line best.

#18 Te’von Coney, Linebacker

As of right now, it looks as though Coney will be backing up both linebacker spots. Yes, yes... this means he’s backing up Greer Martini (who I wrongfully ranked lower). HOWEVER... because of his flexibility, Coney is still very important to the success of the defense.

#17 Durham Smythe, Tight End

Mr. Lacrosse Bro Name could end up being Notre Dame’s most productive tight end this season in all aspects. It really remains to be seen how Chip Long will use the tight end, but we are fairly sure it will be an integral part of the offense.

#16 Alex Bars, Right Guard

Alex Bars moves inside to the right guard position, and that gives the Irish another tough brawler in the middle of the trenches. We should expect more from his side, and he will be key in assisting newcomer Tommy Kraemer at right tackle.

#15 Donte Vaughn, Defensive Back

NCAA Football: Duke at Notre Dame
Donte Vaughn will wear #8 this year.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Like Coney, Vaughn may not be a starter in the secondary, but his size and versatility will allow Mike Elko to move parts around to help the defense play better. I thought a move to safety might happen, but it may be that he will allow someone else to head there.

#14 Dexter Williams, Running Back

I’d really like to rank Williams a little higher, but I think if something were to happen to him, Tony Jones Jr. would do just fine (and he’ll get time anyways). I think Williams is an incredible talent, and a very tough player. He should provide some really nice moments this year.

#13 Julian Love, Defensive Back

Love is one of the best cover corners on the team, but because of a lack of able bodies at safety, he may see some time there as well (thanks to Mr. Vaughn). Love adds to what is one of the biggest strengths on the team at cornerback, but his versatility could prove to be the thing that makes this defense that much stronger.

#12 Nick Watkins, Cornerback

This kid hasn’t been able to catch a break over the past couple of years in terms of injuries. He has emerged as a starter this year, and by all accounts, he should have a great year.

#11 Sam Mustipher, Center

Sam Mustipher got famous because of the NC State game. Horrible conditions made snapping the ball a very dangerous endeavor, but it was Brian Kelly calling Mustipher out that really put his name out there. Most fans sympathized with him. This season he’s bigger and stronger than ever before, and has been singled out by Kelly again- this time as someone who has improved greatly.